(This article is part of a series, Spring Clean Your Eating Habits. You can catch up on previous articles in this series here.)
I'm going to be honest...when I think "snack", I think of a cookie or some chips. It's just not natural for me to reach for an apple. It's not that I don't like apples...it just takes more thought to reach for the good stuff instead of the junk. For that reason, I've had to make a conscious effort to include more fruits and vegetables in my family's diet. We've always eaten some, but just not enough. Here's what's worked for us:
1. Fruit with breakfast. This doesn't happen every day around here, but it should. And we're getting better at it. Slice up a banana or wash some blueberries and add them to your bowl of Cheerios. Serve yogurt parfaits. Make a homemade blueberry syrup for your pancakes. Make banana pancakes. Add raisins to your oatmeal. Something is better than nothing!
2. Dried fruit-n-nut mix (from Costco, or a homemade version) for a snack. It's definitely not as good for you as fresh fruit, but again, something is better than nothing.
3. Yogurt with fruit for a snack.
4. Vegetables (or fruit) with dip for a snack.
5. Fresh fruit with lunch. Always. And no cookie until your fruit is gone :)
6. Vegetables at supper. Always. And sometimes two different kinds. No matter what I'm serving, a vegetable is on the table too. I can't take credit for this idea, although it's a simple enough concept that I should have thought of it on my own. A friend mentioned that even if they are having burgers or Mexican, she'll cook up some carrots, beans, or corn, and serve that along with the main course instead of fries or cornbread. And ever since then, that's been the rule of thumb here.
I share the above ideas not to brag about how much produce we eat, because there are plenty of days that I know we're not getting enough of the good stuff. This whole thing is a work in progress for us. The ideas above aren't exactly rocket science, but keeping them in mind has helped us on this journey to healthier eating.
How do you include more produce in your diet?
This article is part of series that's running through April.