Nutrition science is always evolving, but one thing most medical professionals and researchers agree on is that fruits and veggies play an important role in our diet! In fact, enjoying fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce your risk for heart disease and protect you against certain types of cancers.
Despite the promising powers of plant-based foods, 80-90% of people still aren’t reaching the recommendations for fruits or vegetables. Common reasons include cost, taste, and the misperception that frozen or canned produce is not as nutritious as fresh.
If these obstacles sound familiar, try my tips for adding more plant-based foods to your plate:
Enjoying Fruits and Vegetables For Less
- Choose conventional fruits and veggies over organic as they’re just as nutritious and often cost less.
- Select produce that’s in season for peak flavor and affordability.
- Or grow your own! Bell peppers, berries, cucumbers, tomatoes, and squash are all great choices for the beginner gardener.
Think Outside of “Only Fresh”
- Don’t limit yourself to fresh produce. Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are processed immediately after harvesting, so their nutrient losses are minimal.
- Purchase pre-chopped frozen fruit so you can blend up a tropical smoothie any time of year!
- Canned plant-based foods are “cooked” prior to packaging, so they are conveniently recipe-ready! Choose canned fruits packed in water or their own juice and look for low- or no-sodium canned vegetables when available.
Flavor Up Your Fruits and Veggies
- Pair dairy with plant-based foods for a flavor and protein boost. Try some of my favorite recipes featuring the super-food power couple= plants + dairy:
Enjoying more plant-based foods, like fruits and vegetables, doesn’t have to be difficult or dull. Try my tips and visit The Dairy Alliance recipe page for more delicious ways to pair plants and dairy together.
Lindsey Joe, RDN LDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and employee wellness expert in Franklin, TN. She graduated from the Dietetic Internship program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and prior to this, earned her B.S. in Human Ecology from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is a CDC Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Coach and past TN Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Nashville Media spokesperson. Lindsey is passionate about helping people ignite the healthy that makes them happy and you can follow all her food-filled adventures at @themealplanningmethod.