Well, looks like the cold weather beat the official weather change. This time of year is never my favorite: early sunsets and months of bare tree limbs, while shrubbery once green and lush now stand dormant for the next warm front. I particularly dread all the layers of clothing I have to pile on to stand at bus stops to go to work. Those layers of clothing not only keep warm, but cover up any evidence that we might have abandoned those diets we made during the New Year’s Resolution frenzy.
And just like the rest of nature, our appetites tend to be seasonal. Warm, “comfort” foods are more likely to fill our plates and our tummies, leaving very little space for nourishing fruits and veggies – especially raw veggies. But now’s a good time to flip that focus and increase our daily fruit and veggie intake. Here’s how:
- Eat a piece of fruit with every meal: You like oatmeal for breakfast? How about adding some frozen blueberries or apple chunks? (My grandbabies love their oatmeal like that) Or if yogurt is your breakfast choice, buy the plain kind – less added sugar – and add your own fresh veggies. Cut up pineapple is delicious; or how about some strawberries and bananas?
- Try a before-meal fruit/veggie plate: We always have good intentions to eat healthy don’t we? But those intentions disappear after we fill our bellies with heavier foods. So get that natural, raw fruit/veggie moment in first. Pair your selections with a full 8-oz. glass of water and then have your meal.
- Substitute one fatty/salt snack per day: Change can be hard, but not impossible. Know your body needs. Why did you reach for that bag of potato chips? Maybe you’re craving salt, something to crunch on or both. Try a nice fresh crunchy apple with peanut butter or another nut butter. You’ll get the crunch of the apple, protein from the nut butter. Need more flavor without a sodium spike? Check out Mrs. Dash‘s no salt Chipotle or Extra Spicy flavors. Sprinkle them on chunks of carrots, raw broccoli florets, even celery and dip into hummus, spicy brown mustard, raspberry or honey mustard dressing.
- Make a colorful fruit/veggie plate! Visually appealing plates whet your appetite right? Go wild with your fruit and veggie colors: yellow pineapple chunks, red strawberries, green kiwi, orange slices, dark, juicy blueberries and more red with raspberries. Mix it up and enjoy!
- Invest in a Magic Bullet or a NutriBullet: You will love it! I have the Magic Bullet. In less time than it takes to write this paragraph, I can have a delicious smoothie made of kale, (yes kale), banana, frozen blueberries, chick peas (for extra protein), a splash of vanilla extract and orange juice. Totally healthy – no added sugar – filling, and no you don’t taste the kale. But you get all of its nutrients.