How To Add a Bigger Variety of Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet

Eat more veggies!  Add color to your plate!  Slip more produce into each day!  All of these phrases are commonly found on any quick search for how to eat in a more healthful manner.  For the individual who has already been living a healthy lifestyle, understanding how to utilize this advice is easy but for the health newbie, it can be a bit more challenging.

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What’s the importance of having a variety of color on each plate?  Having a variety of colors on a plate is important because various vitamins, nutrients and minerals present themselves through their color.  By eating lots of color with each meal, you are more likely to prevent serious health conditions that remain extremely prevalent in the Latino community like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancers.  Furthermore, the body tends to digest fiber and other nutrients much better when it comes from food than when it comes from a multi-vitamin.

How can a person add more colors without getting totally overwhelmed?

  • Ease in or trick yourself.  This doesn’t have to be as challenging as it seems.  Certain veggies like cauliflower can be blended into potatoes or yucca to significantly lighten the dish without altering the taste.  It’s also possible to totally replace items like butter with creamy textures like avocados.
  • Make produce the easiest option.  Place a bowl of brightly colored fruits on the kitchen table so it’s the first thing you see when walking into the kitchen.  Chop up enough fruits and veggies to last the whole week so it’s all set when you are grazing and need a snack.  The easier you make it for yourself, the more likely you will be to grab it.
  • Make it a game to get even the pickiest kids involved.  For example – go to a hardware store and pick up some paint pallets in “veggie” colors.  Take them grocery shopping and give each kid a few different tags and have them find a fruit or vegetable that corresponds with the colors they have so they have an active role in what they are eating (studies show that involving kids in the food and cooking process gets them much more likely to actually eat the healthy foods in front of them).  I’m particularly a huge fan of the various Sherwin Williams swatches.  While they have colors kids are familiar with like Tango 6649 for carrots, orange bell peppers or melon and Peppery 6615 for pimentos, tomatoes or apples.  Meanwhile, colors like June Day 6682 might challenge them to step outside of their comfort zones for yucca or spaghetti squash.  They also have a variety of green shades, like Inland 6452 or Parakeet 6711, that can inspire countless options from kale and Granny Smith apples to poblano peppers and tomatillos.

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Focus on making small changes over time.  By instituting little changes here and there, you will create habits that make the transition easier – and more likely to stick – than if you were to do a massive overhaul all at once.

What is your favorite vegetable to eat and cook with?  How do you get your kids to eat more fruits and veggies?  Share in the comments section below!

Please note:  This post was not paid for.  All words and grammatical errors are my own.

1 comment for “How To Add a Bigger Variety of Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet

  1. Brian Cockman
    October 15, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Great article! I especially like the third bullet point idea of taking a color swatch to the grocery store in order to make healthy food choices.

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