Saturday, January 14, 2006

3. Introduce fruits and vegetables for each meal.

Of course, this tip goes hand in hand with the #2. Give up starchy carbs for fruits and vegetables. But, here I'll explore more ideas on how to introduce fruits and vegetables (f&v) at every meal.

To many people, f&v's are irrelevant. Somewhere in our teens we seem to lose the habit of eating f&v's and find it difficult to pick it back up. Other snacks are easier. You just have to pop open a bag for chips and fries are standard side fare with most restaurant meals.

I've found that adding f&v's to every meal isn't much extra work and I prefer the varied taste and texture to the standard starchy sides. F&v's are good for you. They're packed with vitamins that the body needs and contain fiber that helps keep the internal plumbing clean. Plus, it's really tough to eat enough f&v's, even when they're doused with butter and grilled, to gain weight. Why? Because they aren't calorie dense and contain lots of fiber that doesn't get digested and turned into calories. F&v's are a great way to get your fill without consuming large quantities of calories.

Here are some ideas on incorporating f&v's into your regular diet.
Breakfast - If you are a cereal eater, sweeten your cereal with a sliced banana or berries rather than granulated sugar. Peeling and slicing a banana takes about 30 seconds. I keep a bag of frozen blueberries or berry mix (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) in the freezer. I put a handful in a strainer and rinse and plop on my cereal. If you don't eat cereal, it's easy enough to slice any fruit for a side or rinse frozen berries for a side cup to whatever you eat.

Lunch - I typically slice an apple and eat it along with my sandwich. There are many varieties of apples and I can usually find some that are in season from somewhere in the world most times of the year. Pears also make a nice side. Both apples and pears are great flavor complements to a meat and cheese sandwich.

Dinner - Steam broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots or peas or mixture. Douse with a little butter or oil for added flavor. Also, try roasting vegetables - onions and peppers are especially good. Brush with butter or olive and oil and grill, sautee or broil in the oven until some of the sugars in the v's carmelize. Try sauteeing some mushrooms or spinach in a pan with a little bit of oil. All of these are easy to prepare and tasteful and much more nutritious and weight conscious than sides or rice or potatoes.

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