It doesn’t have to break your budget either.
Not many of us eat the recommended daily amount of vegetables and fruits. In fact, only one out of 10 Americans meets the government’s dietary guidelines for fruits and veggies. Although it can vary by person, most adults should eat 1½ to 2 cups per day of fruit and 2 to 3 cups per day of vegetables as part of a healthy eating pattern.
If you’re trying to eat more fresh foods, keep in mind a few key facts.
Fruits and vegetables do contain calories. So, to lose weight, you need to replace high-calorie foods with fruits and vegetables. Simply eating more fresh foods won’t help you lose weight unless you lower your overall caloric intake.
Don’t assume that fruits and vegetables are too expensive to eat regularly. You can lower your grocery bill by eating foods that are in season. Frozen and canned vegetables are often less expensive as well. Just make sure they don’t contain a bunch of ingredients that hike up the calories.
If you’re not sure how many fruits and vegetables to eat, try to make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Always choose whole fruits over fruit drinks and juice, even if it’s 100 percent juice. Whole fruits have less sugar and more fiber to help keep you full.
Watch your snacking. If you feel like crunching on potato chips, try to eat celery sticks instead or carrot sticks. Before you head out the door, always take a healthy snack with you. A banana or some dried fruit can help keep you away from the fast food drive thru.
Here are five quick snacks that contain roughly 100 calories each:
- a medium-size apple (72 calories)
- a medium-size banana (105 calories)
- 1 cup steamed green beans (44 calories)
- 1 cup blueberries (83 calories)
- 1 cup grapes (100 calories)