A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is your best bet for preventing virtually every chronic disease. Select fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors to give your body the full spectrum of pigments with powerful antioxidant effects, as well as the nutrients it needs for optimal function and protection against disease. Here are 15 tips for working them into your diet, from What the Drug Companies Won’t Tell You and Your Doctor Doesn’t Know: The Alternative Treatments That May Change Your Life—and the Prescriptions That Could Harm You.
• Buy many kinds of fruits and vegetables when you shop, so that you have plenty of choices.
• Stock up on frozen vegetables so that you can have a vegetable dish with every dinner. You can easily steam frozen vegetables.
• Use the fruits and vegetables that go bad quickly, such as peaches and asparagus, first. Save hardier varieties, such as apples, acorn squash, or frozen goods for later in the week.
• Keep fruits and vegetables where you can see them. The more often you see them, the more likely you are to eat them.
• Keep a bowl of cut-up vegetables on the top shelf of the refrigerator.
• Make up a big tossed salad with several kinds of greens, cherry tomatoes, cut-up carrots, red pepper, broccoli, scallions, and sprouts. Refrigerate it in a large glass bowl with an air-tight lid, so a delicious mixed salad will be ready to enjoy for several days.
• Keep a fruit bowl on your kitchen counter, table, or desk at work.
• Pack a piece of fruit or some cut-up vegetables in your briefcase or backpack and carry moist towelettes for easy cleanup.
Add fruits and vegetables to lunch by having them in soup, in salad, or cut-up raw.
• Increase portions when you serve vegetables. One easy way of doing this is adding fresh greens, such as Swiss chard, collards, or beet greens, to stir-fries.
• Add extra varieties of vegetables when you prepare soups, sauces, and casseroles. For example, add grated carrots and zucchini to spaghetti sauce.
• Take advantage of salad bars, which offer ready-to-eat raw vegetables and fruits, and prepared salads made with fruits and vegetables.
• Use vegetable-based sauces such as marinara sauce, and juices such as low-sodium V-8 or tomato juice.
• Choose fresh fruit for dessert. For a special dessert, try a fruit parfait with low-fat yogurt or sherbet topped with lots of berries.
• Freeze lots of blueberries. They make a great summer replacement for ice cream, popsicles, and other sugary foods.