Do we really have to be told to eat 5-a-day? Or eat at the family table? Or to read to our kids? Don't we already know this? Why do we have to be reminded? Well, I don’t know either, but I was thinking about the 5-a-day thing earlier and decided to see if I made the cut. Reviewing the last week and depending entirely on my memory (OK, and my menu list posted on the frig) I discovered I do indeed eat five servings of fruit/vegetables every day. In fact, it’s more than that. Am I odd? Apparently. I asked several random people at WalMart how many servings of fruit and vegetables they ate last week and was shocked to hear some of their answers!
Oh, America ... heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer? What will it take to become accountable for our own health? And, hold each other accountable? Death? Too late. Have we gained no knowledge from our ancestors and their medical histories? Apparently hindsight is not 20/20 or we would have learned something!! My paternal grandfather died of lung cancer - I do not smoke, never have. My father colon cancer ... I eat a high fiber diet, get plenty of exercise, and partake in routine colonoscopies. What's in your family's history? What have you done to address that history? What changes have you made?
I thought maybe if some of my readers struggled to get 5-a-day - I'd list some ideas that work for me ... so, let’s get started ...
For breakfast, it’s easy ... a banana on your whole grain cereal with lowfat milk or milk alternative, apple slices with peanut butter, oatmeal with fresh fruit or canned peaches in juice with a dash of cinnamon or have ½ a grapefruit, a bunch of grapes, or whatever you like and a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and/or jam. Having eggs? A seasonal fruit compote only takes a minute to put together or alternate layers in a tall glass with a good low fat plain yogurt and some low sugar granola and you have a great breakfast that only takes a minute.
Lunch is easy ... if you’re having a sandwich, double or triple the veggies on it ... romaine lettuce, fresh spinach, several slices of tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, green peppers ... my favorite sandwich is a salad sandwich usually in a pita with a dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar sprinkled over top. Having a salad for lunch ... try fresh spinach, plenty of tomatoes, diced red and green apples, yellow, red, and/or green peppers, dried fruit (cranberries are especially good), mandarin oranges, fresh pears, feta or bleu cheese, and a fruit dressing, used sparingly, of course. Add some grilled chicken, salmon, tunafish, or ham and you have a whopping serving of vegetables and fruit.
American dinners are often fast-food - on the way to a kid’s game, dance class, etc. - or it's the biggest meal of the day. There is truth in the saying, ‘eat like a king at breakfast, a queen at lunch, and a pauper at dinner.’ Eating a heavy meal at the end of the day isn’t a good idea. So, what’s the best way to get fruit and vegetables at dinnertime? Salad would be the obvious answer ... but there are other options: pile on the vegetables next to a 3 or 4 ounce of lean meat. And don’t be afraid to toss some vegetables on the grill ... cut zucchini in half lengthwise is great on the grill. Or make a vegetarian stir-fry with bok choy, fresh mushrooms, peppers, onions, snowpeas, carrots, broccoli, water chestnuts, bean sprouts and the list goes on and on - then serve it on brown rice with a splash of low salt soy sauce or liquid aminos is even better!
One of my favorite dinners is a huge, fresh, red-ripe tomato. I cut the top off and scoop out the seeds and fill the tomato with whatever I feel like ... salmon salad, tossed salad, tuna salad, whatever and enjoy!
Snacks? Too easy .................. grab an apple, a bunch of grapes, a banana, and those are just the obvious ones ... step outside the box and eat a kiwi, mangos, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, and the list is endless!
Hungry? Reach passed the chips, crackers, cookies, and soda and dive into the wonders of fruits and vegetables ... you won’t be disappointed and your body will thank you!
I’d love to hear how you incorporate fruits and vegetables into your meals ... want to share? Leave a comment!
I am ...
... a former blogger for a health site, which means eating healthy aka heart smart
which has become a passion for me. I will start at the beginning when I first
discovered I had high cholesterol.