Fruits & Veggies: More MattersFruits & Veggies More Matters

September is known as the Fruits & Veggies – More Matters Month. While this month is a great time to focus on higher fruit and veggie intake, it also serves as a reminder to continually add more colorful fruits and vegetables to daily meals throughout the year. Fruits and veggies are loaded with disease-fighting nutrients that are vital for achieving and maintaining good health.

In fact, too often we hear about the foods that should be eliminated from our families’ diets vs. what foods should be added to them. One way your loved ones can strengthen their health is by “overcrowding” daily meals with goodness. For example, by increasing fruit and vegetable intake at every meal, less healthy foods will naturally and gradually taper off in consumption as they are “crowded out” by healthy foods that satisfy appetites.

Here are four ways to overcrowd meals with fruits and vegetables:

1. Make fruits and veggies the main dish vs. the side dish.

This is a great way to maximize fruit and vegetable intake. Simply shift typical main dishes such as a fish, meat or pasta to a small portion of the plate, and load up the remaining portion of the plate with fruits and vegetables.

2. Eat colorful meals.

Brighten up meals by ensuring they have colors of the rainbow. For example, add color to a cheese pizza with spinach, peppers, eggplant and/or tomatoes or add color to a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries, strawberries and/or apples.

3. Add more natural sweets to meals.

Eat more naturally sweet, healthy foods, such as carrots, apples and sweet potatoes, to satisfy a sweet tooth. The more natural sweetness that is incorporated in daily meals, the less likely there will be intense sugar cravings for unhealthy sweets, such as candy, cookies, and cake.

4. Drink fruits and veggies.

One of the easiest ways to consume fruits and veggies is by drinking them in delicious shakes that can be enjoyed for breakfast, as snacks or as additions to meals. Simply toss an array of frozen and fresh fruits and veggies into a blender, add a little water, and blend. To get started, try blending frozen bananas, fresh or frozen spinach, frozen peaches and a little water to create a desired consistency.

Use this month as a reminder for you and your loved ones to eat more colorful fruits and veggies that will not only promote good health, but also help “crowd out” health demoting foods.

Natalie Drugan is a nutrition and lifestyle health coach. Natalie is dedicated to helping others make healthy choices centered on clean food, toxic-free environments and happy living. Natalie received her nutrition health coaching certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC, the world’s largest nutrition school. As a Certified Nutrition Health Coach, she studied over 100 dietary theories and learned from world-renowned experts and doctors including Andrew Weil, MD, Walter Willet, MD, Mark Hyman, MD and Deepak Chopra, MD. Natalie is board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP). Additionally, Natalie received her BBA in Marketing from Texas A&M University.

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