Stay Healthy & Wealthy: 8 Tips for Actually Eating the Produce You Buy
When it comes to eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, getting them on your plate can be the biggest challenge. According to Harvard Health, “American adults eat 10 to 15 grams of total fiber per day,” which is less than half of what the USDA recommends.
If you’re not used to eating fresh produce on a daily basis, however, buying tons of fruits and vegetables and starting overnight may not be the answer.
Find out why below and how you can make a change for the better.
What Happens When You Try to Change Your Diet Overnight
It’s been a week since you last went grocery shopping. Heaps of wilted kale sit amongst containers of moldy blueberries and wrinkly oranges.
Where did you go wrong? And what did you end up eating instead?
This scenario is one in which I found myself all too many times when I graduated from college and ended up buying most of my food from Grubhub – I’m referring to the Pre-Postmates era here – instead of my local farmer’s market.
Whenever I tried opting for healthier foods like fruits and vegetables, they always ended up in the back of my fridge only to be discovered on the rarest of occasions: cleaning day.
Sound familiar? If so, here are 8 tips on how to break this habit once and for all.
1. Buy What You Like to Eat
This may seem like a no-brainer but after reading about every kind of superfood readily available on the market, you may be tempted to fill your cart with goji berries and matcha powder instead of easier to eat go-to snack foods like bananas and baby carrots.
Keep your fridge and your wallet full.
Sure, ingredients like cacao nibs and acai powder can be great in a smoothie bowl, but if you don’t have a recipe just yet, hold off. Of course, it’s great to branch out and try new things but limit yourself to one or two new foods per week.
The rest of your list should include tried and true fruits and vegetables that you actually see yourself eating and using in recipes.
If you don’t think you’ll use it, chances are you’ll lose it to that place of no return in the furthest, darkest corner of your fridge.
2. Eat the Rainbow
As for the foods you do like, why not try opting for a variety of colors?
You could buy bell peppers in each color, opt for a variety of berries or even try out those purple carrots that look strange but sort of intriguing at the same time.
In my experience, the more colorful your food is, the more likely you are to want to eat it.
For a fun decor tip, try buying at least one tropical fruit like mangos or pineapples. The colors and shapes of these fruits are sure to liven up any fruit bowl and make it look that much more appetizing.
3. Keep It Out in Plain Sight
Speaking of fruit bowls, putting your fruit and veggies on display is a great reminder of what’s available to you throughout the week and what kinds of foods you like best.
The first foods to always leave my fruit bowl are mangos and avocados.
Knowing this, I always try to find sales and buy these products in bulk whenever I can.
In your fridge, you can also put your produce on display. Take your fruit and veggies out of the bags and arrange it on your shelves instead.
Personally, I avoid using the drawers in my fridge because I like to see what I’ve bought instead of hiding them away.
Give it a try.
The next time you go grocery shopping, stock all the produce you bought on the first two shelves outside of their bags (this goes for things like peppers, onions, celery).
This way, each time you open your fridge, you’ll be greeted with a wide array of colorful, healthy options for meal prep and snacking.
4. Plan Ahead
Meal prep is another great way to ensure you actually eat all of the produce you buy. At the beginning of the week, chop and slice up your carrots, onions, peppers, and a few kinds of fruit.
Store it in Tupperware for an easy grab and go option in the morning or a way to simplify cooking your meals in the evening.
Again, just seeing these fresh, healthy options packaged in a way that’s ready to eat will really help to change your mindset and get you in the habit of making healthier decisions.
5. Create Healthy Eating Habits
Throughout the week, challenge yourself to eat at least one fruit or vegetable at every meal.
Take a piece of fruit with you in the morning or chop some up and add it to your oatmeal or cereal.
Instead of jam or butter, try mashed avocado on toast along with sliced cucumbers and tomato.
Find ways to add in more fresh food to your favorite meals and see what happens!
Not only will your fridge be empty by the end of the week, but you may also feel lighter and more satisfied at the end of each meal.
6. Use What You Have
Sometimes unforeseen circumstances arise and you don’t always end up eating as many of your groceries as you intended.
You may get invited out to eat or your friends offer to make dinner. And hey, who really wants to turn that kind of offer down?
Keep good food from going bad.
Make a vegetable stock with that old stalk of celery and bag of carrots or add them to a slow cooker along with a few spices to give some more flavor to beans or lentils.
Similarly, overripe bananas can be peeled and stored in the freezer to make any version of this delicious and nutritious banana ice cream.
7. Keep Your Shopping List Simple
That being said, try to avoid unnecessary waste by buying only what you need for the week.
Avoid buying fruits and vegetables at big box stores in bulk unless you know you’ll eat them or can store them long-term – think freezing fruits or canning vegetables – or a specific recipe calls for it.
In this case, it’s also a good idea to buy fruit that is less ripe and to check things like salad bags and bread for the expiration date before purchasing.
8. Learn to Make New Meals
Get inspired to try new foods and up your fiber intake with these healthy recipe ideas! When I first went Plant-Based, I came across a few Plant-Based Recipe Developers who inspired me to branch out and make new and interesting recipes.
I created Mindful Plate to help inspire others in the same way. Be sure to check out the recipes I’ve included on this site. For even more inspiration, here are a few of my favorite websites and dishes:
Ellen Fisher -Vegan-inspired dishes for the whole family.
Pick Up Limes-Healthy, easy to follow recipes by a certified nutritionist.
Minimalist Baker- Fun and interesting dishes all with either 10 ingredients or less or made in under half an hour.
High Carb Hannah- High carb, low fat dishes that are filling and easy to make.