April showers bring May flowers—which means more fruits and veggies! Between Earth Day, Garden Week, Zucchini Bread Day, Mushroom Day, and Garlic Day, April was jam-packed with opportunities to make the most out of your produce and your health. And now that it’s May, we can enjoy this season’s abundant fruits and veggies. I have compiled below a list of your very own “Fruit and Veggies Do’s and Don’ts.”
- Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables from the colours of the rainbow. Every colour represents different vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health-so eat up!
- Try to include dark, rich yellow, red, and orange coloured fruits and vegetables to your daily meal plans. These are rich in antioxidants like carotenoids which are great for your eye health.
- Aim for at least 5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day
- Keep fruits and vegetables out in the open where you can see them. Cut up fruits and veggies and place in containers at eye level in your fridge. That way, colourful produce is the first thing you see when you reach for a snack and will gear you towards making healthier choices.
- If you can’t seem to get your daily 5 cups in, buy pre-cut or frozen fruits and veggies. Pre-cut vegetables may cost more, but frozen produce cost less. Frozen produce can also contain more nutrients because they’re picked and flash-frozen at peak ripeness!
- Add fruits and vegetables to anything you can! Stuff them into your sandwiches and add them to your main dish, either steamed or raw!
- Use fruits and vegetables as ingredients. Try unsweetened applesauce as a fat-free replacement for oil in baking recipes. Add pureed cooked vegetables to thicken soups or stews.
- Fruit juices are not exactly the best way to quench your thirst. Juices are often loaded with sugars and artificial preservatives that don’t give your body the boost it needs. Not to mention, juices are stripped of all the fruit fibre which is an important part of your health! It is better to eat the fruit itself and have some ice cold water to keep you hydrated.
- Potato chips and French fries are not the best way to eat your potatoes. Chips and fries may have been made from potatoes, but they are just heavily processed empty calories. They have been stripped of all their nutrients and prepared with high amounts of fat and salt. In recent years, many studies have been published that show the dangerous side effects that come from deep frying potatoes. Potatoes that have been deep fried at extreme temperatures generate the production of a carcinogen called acrylamide which has been proven to cause cancer.
- Lastly, fruit bars aren’t the way to go either. Even though fruit bars usually contain some fruit, they are low in fibre and contain high amounts of sugar and calories. They can even stick to your teeth and may cause dental caries as well.
Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals that are essential to health and fresh produce provide the most nutritional value. Incorporating fruits and vegetables into meals is an obstacle for many. Make small changes over time and see what tips and tricks work for your lifestyle.