When you were a kid, your mother probably struggled to get you to eat enough fruits and vegetables. Now that you're grown up, you may be struggling to follow through on mom's advice on your own.
Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, yet many adult women find it a chore to eat the recommended amount of five to nine servings every day. It's especially challenging with today's stressful lifestyles that juggle careers with motherhood, but by following just a few of these tips you'll go a long way towards reaching your daily quota:
Make it a habit to include fruit or vegetables with breakfast, and you'll be getting a head start on your daily intake right away. Add veggies to your omelet and berries or banana slices to your cereal or pancakes, or try a smoothie made with yogurt and fruit.
Have fruit or vegetables as a snack, and pair them with something else to make them easier to consume. Carrots, cucumbers, and red pepper slices go great with hummus, and fruit is a natural match for cheese.
Try recipes that "sneak" hidden fruits and vegetables into meals. You know those cookbooks that teach parents how to incorporate sweet potato or spinach puree into their children's meals? They're not just for kids. If cauliflower-infused macaroni and cheese or beet brownies help picky young eaters get enough of their daily allowance, then they can help you, too.
Have a vegetable-based soup with your lunchtime sandwich instead of chips. Soup provides one of the tastiest ways to eat your veggies, and the varieties available are endless, so you're sure to find a favorite that provides you with a full serving.
An 8-ounce glass of vegetable or fruit juice counts as a serving. Just be sure to check the label to make sure it contains 100 percent juice, rather than a small percentage added to high fructose corn syrup and water. V8's V-Fusion beverages contain nothing but juice and fruit and vegetable products with no added sweeteners. Or consider buying a good quality juicer, and have fun creating your own tasty combinations.
Eat a fruity dessert. Traditional pies are high in calories and fat, but fruit tarts and cobblers provide the same taste for fewer calories. For simpler desserts, make your own chunky applesauce; try grilled fruit kabobs made of sliced pineapple and bananas; or drizzle cut figs with honey and crumbled Gorgonzola cheese.
Food manufacturers are jumping on the healthy snack bandwagon by incorporating real fruit and vegetables into their products, so keep an eye out for them when you go grocery shopping. Some breakfast cereals contain dehydrated fruit such as bananas and strawberries, and Frito-Lay's Flat Earth product line of snack chips provide a half serving of produce in every ounce.
Pick your own fruit when it's in season. Not only is apple, strawberry or blueberry picking a fun activity (especially with kids), but you'll also be more motivated to use up the fruit right away.
Try a fruit or vegetable you've never tasted before, and you may discover it's something you can't get enough of. Pomegranates and figs usually come into season in the fall, and unusual tropical fruits start appearing in your supermarket in the winter.
Buying fresh produce when it's in season -- such as squash during the autumn months -- means you'll enjoy them when they're at their tastiest.
The key is to get so used to eating fruits and vegetables as part of a daily diet that you couldn't imagine meals without them. You'll thank your mom -- and your body will thank you!