“I’m kind of an all-or-nothing eater,” says Fernande, who eats large spinach salads with broccoli slaw, red peppers, sunflower seeds, and onions several nights a week. “I don’t cook so much as I assemble,” she admits. But on the days she’s not “assembling,” the self-described “semi-vegetarian” might have a bunch of cashews, an avocado, or bread and cheese and call it dinner. Fernande’s fruit intake consists mainly of juice: She drinks four eight-ounce glasses of watered-down grape juice daily. She’d like to add more solid fruits and vegetable variety to her diet.
Fernande has a good base of vegetables and fruits but is in the sort of rut it’s easy to get into as a single person. She should round out her menu, keeping fresh fruit snacks on hand and enjoying greater variety at dinner. And dinner needs to be a meal, not a handful of nuts.
- Find a pretty bowl to fill with fruit and keep on your desk—stock it with apples, pears, and clementines, for example; in the summer, try peaches, cherries, and plums. When it’s right there in front of you, you’re more likely to eat it.
- Vary dinnertime salads to take in a wider range of nutrients. In place of spinach, try arugula, escarole, butter lettuce, or chard—each of which pairs better with different toppings (pears and walnuts with arugula, roasted squash and pumpkinseeds with escarole, citrus with butter lettuce, or raisins and pine nuts with chard).
- Make “prepared cooked salads” at the beginning of the week, and enjoy them in different ways on subsequent nights. Make a quinoa, couscous, or wild rice cold salad packed with seasonal vegetables—add to wraps, eat over a bed of spinach or other greens, or heat and stuff into omelets.
- Instead of having only a handful of cashews or an avocado for dinner, use those ingredients to enhance a more nutritious quick dinner: chicken and broccoli slaw stir-fry sprinkled with cashews, say, or a black bean, bell pepper, and onion burrito with avocado.