The fruits and vegetables we hated growing up tend to become a bit more tolerable as we age. But if the thought of eating spinach or broccoli still turns your stomach, fortunately, there's still hope.
"Canada’s Food Guide suggests eating at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day," says Gail Rampersaud, a registered dietitian at the University of Florida. "Eating a variety of foods gives you a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients."
According to a recent survey by the Florida Department of Citrus and EKOS Research Associates Inc., 90 per cent of Canadian adults don't eat the recommended servings of seven to 10 fruits and vegetables each day. In reality, more than half of surveyed Canadians admit to eating around one to three fruits and veggies per day.
"Foods like green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage are consumed in relatively low amounts compared to other vegetables," Rampersaud says.
And while we all know fruits and veggies aren't the enemy here, the survey found most Canadians just didn't realize they weren't eating as many healthy foods as they were supposed to. In an ideal world, survey respondents said they would eat the recommend amount of fruits and vegetables every day — even if they weren't fans of some of those leafy greens.
So how can we make unbearable fruits and veggies a little more bearable? Here are Rampersaud's 10 tips on sneaking healthy foods into your meals.
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Add Fruits And Veggies To Meals You Eat Every Day
If you're a big fan of pasta dishes, pizzas or smoothies, try adding new fruits and vegetables at least once a week to some of these meals.
Add cooked vegetable puree to soups and stews — you won't even taste the difference.
Replace Your Pop With Juice
Try replacing your pop with a juice beverage made from 100 per cent fruit juice at least once a week. Avoid any added sugars or preservatives by making your own.
Add Veggies To Your Sauces
The next time you're making pasta, add veggies like mushrooms, tomatoes and green pepper to your sauce.
Look For Pre-Cut Fruit
If you don't see yourself cutting up fruits every single day for snacks, buy pre-cut fruit or fruit bowls instead.
By Canned Foods As Well
Again, don't feel like cutting? Buy canned fruits and veggies that don't have added preservatives. Look out for the sugar content, though.
Replace Desserts With Sweet Fruits
If you're used to eating something sweet after every meal, try sweet fruits like mangoes or strawberries for dessert instead.
Add More Veggies To Your Sandwich
If you're looking for ways to bulk up your sandwich, try adding avocado or red bell peppers.
Get More Veggie Sides
If you tend to eat out a lot, try replacing your typical order of soup or French fries for something healthier like veggies, like edamame.
If you live near a local food market or farm, try picking up some veggies or fruits yourself. Talking to vendors will give you insight on how these fruits and veggies are actually grown. Alternatively, organic food boxes can be delivered to your home in the winter months.