Vegetarian Living – How to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet

Say No to Meat Book CoverThe following is an excerpt from our book “Say No to Meat“, by Amanda Strombom and Stewart Rose, published by Healthy Living Publications.  This book includes answers to all the questions you may have about becoming a vegetarian, and is invaluable to new and existing vegetarians alike!

How can I include more fruits and vegetables in my diet?

Take veggies seriously. Vegetables are an important component of your diet, and most of us don’t eat enough of them. The American Cancer Society advises us all to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and many researchers suggest 8 to 10 servings per day would be optimal. The only way to achieve this is to plan each meal to include several servings of fruit or vegetables.

For breakfast, focus on fruit. A smoothie (see Protein-Powered Fruit Smoothie recipe) is a great way to get plenty of fruit into your diet, as you can include bananas and whatever fruit you have on hand. Alternatively, a glass of orange juice, and a piece of fruit on the side of whatever else you have for breakfast will get you started on meeting your fruit requirement for the day.

For lunch, try to include a couple of different vegetables with the meal. This may mean that you include some greens, cucumber slices, and red pepper sticks in your sandwich. Choose romaine or red leaf lettuce or spinach rather than iceberg lettuce, which has little nutritional value. Baby carrots, zucchini and red pepper sticks are great to dip into hummus or other dips. Coleslaw (see The Great American Coleslaw recipe on page XX) is a delicious option in a pita pocket, and vegetable soups are always a good choice. A piece of fruit makes a great dessert.

For snacks, choose a piece of fruit, dried fruit in trail mix, and baby carrots as quick, easy options.

For dinner, choose an entrée which has plenty of vegetables included, and add more if you can. For example, if you buy a prepared vegetable pizza, there will be a few small pieces of vegetables included. Top up the pizza with extra vegetables – sliced mushrooms, zucchini, red peppers and some frozen peas and corn are easily added to give extra nutrition and fiber. In addition to the entrée, aim to always have at least one steamed vegetable and a salad bowl on the side. Good choices for steamed vegetables include greens such as kale, collards or chard, green beans, and broccoli, although any vegetable you like is a good choice. Remember that variety is important, so try to vary your choice of vegetables from one day to the next.