When I’m hungry, I don’t want to snack on an apple or a carrot. I want chips, ice cream, or a steamy bowl of pasta. We all know that the secret to great health is eating plenty of fruits and veggies, but it’s hard to reach the daily quota of five servings when you really don’t crave the stuff. That’s why in the last year, I’ve been getting creative in the kitchen and finding sneaky ways to get more fruits and veggies into my diet.
You know how little kids won’t eat an apple unless their mom cuts it, peels it, and places it right in front of their faces? You must do the same for yourself–you must make fruits and vegetables more accessible. First and foremost, clear the pantry of junk-food snacks. Then head to the supermarket and stock up on a week’s supply of fresh fruits and veggies in a rainbow assortment. When you get home, dedicate an hour or so to washing, peeling, and chopping everything at once. Then stack your snack-ready goodies in airtight containers and place them in the front of the fridge, where they are easily accessible when you are cooking, packing a lunch, or just need a snack. Don’t forget to also stock your freezer with frozen veggies and your pantry with dried fruits.
As I mentioned before, I love a big bowl of pasta. (Like, you don’t understand. I could eat pasta every day for lunch, dinner, and a snack.) One way I trick myself into eating more veggies is by throwing veggies into my pasta dishes. Peas and mushrooms make a great addition to fettuccine alfredo. Cherry tomatoes and cooked spinach are delicious in a pesto pasta dish.
Don’t stop at pasta, though. Find ways to add fruits and veggies to every meal you eat. Here are some of my ninja moves: I put a handful of fresh blueberries or dried fruit in my oatmeal; I add strawberries and/or raspberries to my cereal; I place banana slices atop my Nutella toast; I dress my burgers with lettuce, tomato, and avocado; when I cook a curry, soup, or a stir-fry I add extra veggies not called for in the recipe.
The last trick I want to mention is simple: make fruits and veggies more appealing. No one wants to snack on celery sticks. But once you fill the center with Kraft’s pineapple cream-cheese spread, it’s a different story (you can find it in the dairy aisle of most supermarkets and it is delicious!). Hummus, peanut butter, ranch dressing, dip, and Greek yogurt all make veggies more tasty and appealing.
I’m not saying you should eat fruit for dessert instead of ice cream (I mean you should, but let’s be realistic…it’s not the same), I’m just suggesting you add some berries to your ice cream. Even if you hate fruits and vegetables, with a little creativity you can trick yourself into enjoying them.