Nutrition Principle #3 - Produce!
Now, this another post that I know it is not flashy, fancy, new, or rocket science for you. Some of you started following so you might find a great new nutritional piece of advice that would be life-changing (and body changing, right?!?!), but I am here to tell you, there is nothing new under the sun! "What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun." Ecclesiastes 1:9. Most principles (not fad diets) of nutrition are things you already know! You already know you should drink water. You already know you should eat vegetables! The key is--do you eat (and drink) like you believe it? Again, I'm asking you to drop the pin and assess how you are doing. How are you doing with your produce intake--especially vegetables?
I also am here to reinforce and remind you of the benefit of produce! So, here is your "why" for eating vegetables and fruit. I will focus more of things you might not know, things you did not learn in your eight grade science course, things that are more important to you as you age (instead of your mom or health teacher telling you to eat your veggies!), and things that I know may even help you be encouraged to eat the produce (especially vegetables!)!!! I am keeping this category as "produce," but I really want to emphasize vegetables! Keep that in mind--increase your veggies...and eat a little bit of fruit too!
high in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
low in calories (eat more and lower in calories can aid with weight loss)
high in fiber (good for your metabolism, rids body of toxins, cardiovascular health)
boost your immune system (helps keep you healthy and fight sickness)
rich in antioxidants (even cancer fighting)
reduce risk of chronic disease and cardiovascular disease
regulates blood sugar levels
great for your brain/mental health
For more information on "why?" read this article by Precision Nutrition and this article from bodybuilding.com. This article at BodyBuilding.com will especially explain the benefits of vegetables for overall health, aging, cardiovascular health, mental health, fat loss, and muscle building--which I hope I have already explained why we need to build muscle as we age.
Vegetables are SO good for you and give you so many unseen benefits. They affect how you feel, and your body *more than you realize.* Eat More Vegetables!
I personally recommend eating produce (mostly vegetables) with every meal or snack. Ideally, I would eat produce every time I eat, but I just don't. Still, I strive to have about 5 fist-sized portions a day. The recommended amount of vegetables for most adults would be 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 cups each day.
I really do not think there are people out there that are overeating all their calories because they are eating too much produce (especially vegetables)! Try to increase your intake of good whole vegetables (no matter how you cook it). Fruit too, but I know most people, especially those that love sugar, more easily eat fruit. Focus on the veggies and have some fruit too!
Get after the produce and seek to increase your veggie intake!
HOW TO DO IT BETTER?
There are multiple ways to increase your produce (veggies!!!) intake:
Buy Them! Have them on hand--no excuses!
Eat veggies with a good dip (portion aware)!
Grab veggies when you want or crave crunch instead of chips.
Grab some fruit when you want something sweet instead of processed sweets!
Work on a new vegetable recipe each month (or week)!
Practically Speaking, here are some habits I try to do daily.
veggies with eggs at breakfast
spinach in protein shakes
fresh veggies at lunch (carrots, cucumbers, peppers)
cook at least 2 veggies at dinner
eat a salad every day or every other day
Keep it simple: Eat Produce and keep it as your primary sides with your meals!
Vegetables and Fruit (portion aware) are so great for your health!