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How to Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Some reusable containers.
Pack some reusable containers with
pre-cut veggies to enjoy when you
want a snack.

Two of the secrets to making something successful are simplicity and speed. Fast food companies learned that lesson years ago. When you're hungry you can pull up in a car, order from a big picture menu and drive away with a meal in 10 minutes or less. Imagine if healthy food was just as easy to get.

Now it can be. Instead of picking up an 800 calorie burger dripping with fat, I'm going to share ten simple things you can do to make fruit and vegetables a bigger part of your daily life.

Start with food that has its own wrapper. Bananas and oranges are two obvious examples. They're easy to carry around and when you're ready to eat, simply take the natural wrapping off and enjoy. Make sure you buy enough so that you can enjoy one a day.

Invest in a couple of washable containers to carry pre-cut foods. Baby carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, unsalted nuts and celery are all low-calorie and convenient foods to bring along. Pack them in lunch boxes, Tupperware or bento boxes and store them in the refrigerator. When you're walking out the door, grab one for when you get hungry.

Store prepared vegetables in the fridge that you can add to your regular meals. Chop up green pepper, onion and spinach for omelets. Shred some carrots to sprinkle over a salad. Dice zucchini and mix it in any red sauces you're making. If you don't have the time, grocery stores sell everything pre-cut, pre-diced and pre-shredded for your convenience.

Experiment with cooking frozen vegetables in the microwave. Put 2 to 4 tablespoons of water and the vegetables in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and cook leafy vegetables for 4-6 minutes. Asparagus, green beans, broccoli and cauliflower take about 6-9 minutes per pound. If you like things more tender, pause the cooking halfway through and use a fork to pierce the veggies. If it's not cooked, start the microwave and keep checking back about once every minute until done.

Microwave Oven Myths Microwave Oven Myths

Which of the following statements are false?
  1. Microwave ovens emit radiation.
  2. Microwave ovens alter the molecular structure of food.
  3. Microwave ovens cook from the inside out.
Click Here to get the answer.

Remember canned veggies can be your friend. Diced tomatoes, beets, garbanzo beans and kidney beans can quickly be added to many meals and they stay fresh in the cans for years. Look for labels that say, "no salt added" or "low sodium" to make sure you're buying the healthiest versions.

For more ideas on how to shop for the healthiest foods,
Click Here for our Food Label Secrets video series.

Set aside two days a week to enjoy a vegetable soup. If you're feeling ambitious, make a recipe that serves 6 or 8 and freeze the extra portions for later. For some ideas visit the WeBeFit.com website for recipes like butternut squash, chilled cucumber, hot blueberry soup and curry vegetable.

 Fruit & Vegetable Soups
Blueberry Soup Blueberry Soup Butternut SquashFreezer Friendly Butternut Squash

Curry Vegetable Soup Curry Vegetable Soup Cucumber Soup (Cold) Cucumber Soup (Cold)

Order a soup and salad combo the next time you go out to eat. Skip the entree and have your server put the dressing on the side. You'll save money and typically a third of the calories of a traditional meal. For dessert ask for a serving of fresh fruit. Indulge by putting a dollop of whipped cream on the top.

When you're thinking of places for lunch, don't forget your local grocery store salad bar. They typically have a huge selection of fresh veggies, fruit and soups. You'll find most are priced around the same as a fast-food restaurant.

Keep healthy food in sight. Put veggies on the refrigerator's top shelf. Don't use the crisper; you'll forget what's in there until they've gone bad. Same goes for the fruit. Put it in a bowl on your counter and store the junk food behind closed doors. The foods you see are the ones more likely to be eaten.

Taste test several different options until you find a couple you love. Try and avoid the ones that are fried, overly breaded or drowning in fatty sauces. Don't waste your money stocking up on something you feel like you HAVE to eat. Keep testing until you find some fruits and veggies you really WANT to eat. Ready for some healthy food?

UPDATE:

How important are veggies in your diet? Researchers at the University College London tracked the eating habits of 65,226 people, age 35 or older for 12 years. At the end of the study, they found that five servings of fruit and vegetables a day simply isn't enough. The recommended amount is seven servings.

People who ate seven or more servings (about 1/2 a cup per serving) reduced their risk of death during the study period by 42 percent. Those same people reduced their risk of dying from cancer by 25 percent and cardiovascular disease by 31 percent.

Eating one to three servings daily only cut the risk of death by 14 percent.

Researchers believe vegetables had a stronger association with a reduction in mortality than fruit. People who ate frozen or canned fruit, which are typically higher in added sugars, experienced increased mortality. Fruit juices were not found to have a beneficial effect.

Want to live longer? Eat 3.5 cups (about seven servings) of vegetables daily. But avoid the stuff that's breaded in fat or sugar. And definitely avoid any vegetables that are deep-fried.

Call for a FREE Consultation (305) 296-3434
CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.

4/21/2013
Update 8/27/2014
Updated 10/9/2018

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  • Fruits and vegetables reduce breast cancer.

    That's the conclusion of a study published in the July 6, 2018 issue of the International Journal of Cancer. In that study, 182,145 women between the ages of 27 and 59 were followed for 30 years. Researchers found that women who ate more fruits and vegetables, "especially cruciferous and yellow-orange vegetables," had a "significantly lower breast cancer risk." The actual estimate was about an 11% reduction. Yet another reason you want to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day.