Updated: Mar 10
Did you know March is National Nutrition Month? Nutrition is a key aspect to supporting your health & fitness goals, not just for today, but for the long haul. So let's talk about a few simple ways you can incorporate nutritionally dense foods that will support your healthy living goals!
Why is nutrition so important?
Because what you eat has the ability to empower healthy body function so you can meet your body’s energy demands, support your fitness performance and recovery, a healthy weight, and reduce your risk of disease. Now that is pretty powerful!
How can you get more nutrition out of your daily diet?
Eat from the rainbow! Studies show eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps reduce risk of disease while also supplying the body with essential vitamins and minerals. Next time you are in the produce aisle notice the foods that are red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple - those are your nutrition powerhouses!
Here are some of delicious and nutritious "rainbow" foods:
Red: apples, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon
Orange: carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, oranges, peppers
Yellow: bananas, pineapple, peppers, squash
Green: apples, pears, broccoli, grapes, cucumbers, spinach, zucchini
Blue: blueberries, blackberries, beets, figs
Purple: grapes, plums, beets, eggplant
Not a fan of fruits or vegetables? Have a picky eater in the house?
Fortunately most fruits and vegetables can easily be sneaked into other dishes. Smoothies, salads and baked goods for example are super simple ways to "disguise" those healthy foods and help everyone meet their essential nutrient needs too.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to simply sneak in more fruits and vegetables and boost your nutrients each day!
Smoothies. Add a handful of spinach to your next smoothie along with a variety of fruits and blend. For folks who turn their nose up at vegetables (especially anything green!) this is a great way to sneak in essential nutrients. And bonus: you'll enhance nutrient absorption by pairing co-factors together (foods rich in vitamin C help the body absorb iron more efficiently). Want a few simple recipes? Click here to download my FREE Super Smoothie Guide!
Salads. Gone are the days of the boring green salad. From grains, beans and lean meats to a variety of fruits and vegetables anything goes. Not sure where to start? Toss some thinly sliced fruit or fun colorful vegetables on your next green salad.
Pasta. Served cold or warm you can add a variety of fruits or vegetables to bring out fresh in season flavor. Some sure fire winners that complement most pasta dishes well are mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and spinach. We eat with our as much as our mouth, so adding pops of color to bland pasta not only boost nutrient values, but it's a great way to engage all the senses and increase feelings of meal satisfaction too.
Grill it! Firing up the grill? Throw on some fresh vegetables (and even fruits) too! Did you know the acid and water density found in most fruits and vegetables actually offers a great natural baster to lean protein dishes? And the grill will often soften courser vegetable textures, leaving you with a crisp, light, and in some cases much milder flavor as well.
Pizza night. DIY pizza nights are a great way to boost nutrients in a fun and creative way. From fruit pizza to more traditional pizzas with your favorite lean protein and vegetables, you can create a colorful pizza or tasty flatbread topped with a wide variety of fun toppings such as pineapple, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, artichokes, broccoli, strawberries, apple and pear.
Throw it in the pan. Sautéing is a quick and simple way to prepare vegetables. Add a small amount of cooking oil (I prefer olive or coconut) to the pan and add chosen ingredients to cook on medium-low heat until they reach desired texture (from soft to crunchy). Use them to garnish a bed of brown rice or quinoa, pair them with your favorite lean protein, or enjoy them on their own.
Steam it! Steaming vegetables is another quick and simple way to prepare your vegetables, and much like any other cooking process, you can often change the texture and flavor palettes as well. From stovetop to microwave there are many ways to simply steam your favorite veggies to eat and enjoy!
Chop, dice and grate. Chop, dice, or grate fruits and vegetables to add to any variety of foods. From baked goods like cookies, breads and muffins to omelets and scrambled eggs, sauces and more. For a variety of clean eating recipes that feature all sorts of fruits and vegetables, check out the healthy eating section of my blog.
Dip it! Fresh cut vegetables like carrots, celery, mushrooms, broccoli and peppers are a delicious snack paired with hummus. And fresh sliced fruits like melon, berries and pineapple are a tasty treat when paired with low fat Greek yogurt, natural nut butter or your favorite low fat whip. YUM!
Add a pop of color. Berries - fresh or frozen - make an excellent topper to nearly any dish, from low-fat Greek yogurt and cottage cheese, to morning oats or your favorite granola. And they're readily accessible, affordable, and easy to have on hand any season!
Bottom line - there are so many ways you can enjoy fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Get creative, play with color and new flavors. Eating from the rainbow makes healthy eating simple and fun!
Creating Healthy Habits for A Healthy Life!
Are you are a woman who is ready to live healthier and happier, ditch the diet, and discover small steps that make a big impact so you can live a life you love in a body you are proud of? Come join me inside my women’s-only Facebook Group - The Healthy Habits Club. It's where busy women go for tips, tools and support so they can stress less, eat healthy, move daily, and feel good for life!