REAL, FRUGAL, HEALTHY, and FUN!!!
The average American eats only 3 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Well, that doesn’t include white potatoes, but they shouldn’t be counted anyway. Not only are they more of a starch than a vegetable, but most Americans eat them in the form of French fries or butter loaded, cheesy mashed potatoes, which hardly fits the parameters of a healthy serving of vegetables. Depending on calorie intake, guidelines recommend anywhere from 5-13 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. As a guide, consider this: A person who consumes 2,000 calories per day should be eating at least 9 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday.
Isn’t it a shame that we fall so short on our servings of fruits and vegetables each day, when our fruits and vegetables can do so much for us! There have been so many different studies suggesting that fruits and vegetables can help prevent and/or help cure everything from various types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke to things like the common cold, high blood pressure and inflammation. To say that you can heal and strengthen your body with food sounds like a dream come true, yet so many people opt not to eat their medicinal, healing fruits and vegetables.
I wasn’t always huge on fruits and vegetables. When I was little, there were many I wasn’t keen on. My mom continued to serve them and I grew to like more and more. My mom always made great stir-fry’s with a large variety of veggies. She served us everything from broccoli and beets, to brussel sprouts and turnip.
As a teenager, I wanted to eat more salads because as you may have read in my very first post, I desperately wanted to be thin. I started eating salads everyday at school with absolutely no dressing. The only foods I didn’t feel bad about eating were fruits and vegetables.
As I got older, married, and developed a healthier mindset gradually, I started to eat more variety without guilt. I just watched my portions. I wasn’t eating as many fruits and vegetables, though. My husband and I followed the traditional idea that you have a meat main dish, a starchy side, and a veggie side. Fruit fit in as a snack from time to time. I think that’s the typical American way of eating.
Then, when I did my bikini show, my trainer forbade me to eat fruit. I literally went 5 months with absolutely no fruit. He said the fructose in the fruit would keep me from reaching my goals. I trusted him, so I listened. After the show, I struggled with feelings of guilt when I ate fruit. That actually went on for several months.
More and more, I read about how the sugar in fruit is ok, that it is natural and comes with so much fiber, and so many nutrients. I gradually started eating more and more fruit. I noticed the physiques of girls who claimed to eat primarily fruit, and they looked good! I kept adding more and more fruit to my diet.
When I gave up grains to heal my gut a few years ago, I started using more fruits and veggies in my baking and cooking. Dinner became a meaty main dish with two vegetable side dishes. Fruit found a regular place in my breakfast, lunch and snacks.
Lately, I’ve become more concerned with the environment, and I’ve developed a strong desire to eat more plant-based. The more I learn, the more I believe a plant-based (primarily fruits and vegetables) diet is the healthiest way to go. I now plan my meals around fruits and vegetables. I feel better. I feel fresher. I feel more energized.
So what exactly do I eat?
Yes, I eat salads. I think that’s a given. I drink smoothies. Also, a given. I am a veggie chip making addict. I love buying different vegetables and trying them out as chips. Sometimes, I buy a veggie I’ve never heard of or seen before so I can try it out as a chip. It’s so much fun, and the result is a delicious, crispy snack that tastes sinfully like junk food. I bake using sweet potatoes, pumpkin, zucchini, and both dried and fresh fruit in just about everything I make. Check out my latest creations:
That lovely cheesecake you see pictured above is made with coconut, pineapple, and raspberries.
These delicious chips are just one thinly sliced plantain.
I’m really hoping these pictures give you some ideas. While I love a bowl of fruit or a nice crisp salad, you can be creative and add more variety to keep things interesting. While it was once a challenge for me to hit my recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables, it is way too easy now! Check out my healthy eating board for more ideas. If it’s still sounding unachievable, post a comment and we’ll try to work through it together.
What is one serving of fruit or one serving of vegetables?
– 3/4 cup (6 oz.) 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice
– One medium fruit (e.g., apple, orange, banana, pear)
– 1/2 cup cut-up fruit
– 1/2 cup raw or cooked vegetables
– 1/4 cup dried fruit (e.g., raisins, apricots, dates)
– 1 cup raw, leafy vegetables
– 1/2 cup dry, cooked or canned peas or beans