Kristi’s idea of a fruit break leans to blueberry yogurt (problem: not much fruit). She favors vegetables raw because she lacks time for all that prep, and when she does buy something adventurous, it too often languishes in the fridge. As a working mom with two young children, she’s always rushing. Her own meals are an afterthought: packaged oatmeal and coffee at her desk for breakfast, and Subway or a Lean Pocket for lunch, with an occasional few bags of salad thrown in. This busy mom feels more assaulted than helped by the thousands of food choices in the supermarket.
Kristi’s goal this month should not be to reinvent her entire food lifestyle, just to focus on the add-three-veggies-and-fruits target. This will broaden her shopping and cooking repertoire.
- Stash dried fruit in a desk drawer (cherries, blueberries, cranberries, apricots), along with the packaged oatmeal—an easy, no-prep serving of fruit in the a.m.
- Augment lunch with raw veggies and dip brought from home (get one of those little insulated lunch bags). For variety, try snow peas, cauliflower, radishes, and cucumber. Use tzatziki, hummus, or romesco for dips. (Find recipes for healthy, low-cal dips.)
- At home, try one new vegetable each week. We’ve put 23 recipes together for winter selections like kale or collard greens, sweet-buttery winter squash, nutty celery root, creamy sweet potatoes. Or pick a new vegetable and try three very different dishes in one week to master it.
- Since raw vegetables are favored, make salad a consistent habit. Begin each dinner with one (use no-prep bagged salad greens as a base), then load in other vegetables; this adds two servings.
- Keep fruit and prepped veggies on the counter or at eye level in the front of the refrigerator. That way, you’ll be reminded to use them.
- Make it a weekend project to prep one or two freezable vegetable dishes. Sauté (or grill in warmer weather) extra vegetables one night, and toss leftovers into pasta dishes, soups, sandwiches, and salads during the week. Use your food processor’s shredding blade to grate zucchini, carrots, turnips, winter squash, and so on—bag them, fridge them, and add to sauces, casseroles, pasta tosses, stir-fries, soups, and pizza (small shredded size means quick cooking). Make a large batch of fruit salad (pineapple, grapes, kiwi, and oranges, for example) to have on hand for meals and snacks.
- Remember the frozen-veggie aisle, too.