Wednesday, January 19, 2011

7 Fruits and Veggies

At the end of last year, while finishing out Amanda's Holiday Bootie Buster, I decided that one of my new goals for the year needed to include her challenge to eat seven fruits and veggies every day. I will tell you that this is not an easy one for me. I am really good to get 3 or 4 but getting all 7 in takes planning. And to be honest, I still haven't managed to do it every day. But I figure that I'm still getting more than I used to and any small improvement is a step in the right direction. The biggest bonus of when I do get them in is that I'm full. I don't feel like I need the junk as much. I get tempted when I'm hungry and something sweet or salty (chips are a real problem for me) seem to be easier to reach for than preparing something healthy. So if I'm full, I'm not really looking for junk.
I had gotten a comment from Just Trying is for Little Girls a little while ago about how to fit them all in because I think it's a challenge for anyone who tried it. So here's how I've been cramming in my fruits and veggies. Some are things I did before and some things are new that hopefully will become a part of my routine, a habit, and a lifestyle change.
Breakfast: while I would much rather have a muffin, pancakes, or waffles, I choose to have oatmeal with blueberries or eggs with veggies. I can get one serving first thing in the morning.

Salmon, spinach, and salsa omelet.

Salsa is a great way to get in your veggies. We make our own from our garden. We use peppers, onions, tomatoes and lots of spices. I use salsa on a lot of things. It gives lots of flavor and since we made it, I know what went in it. It's good on baked potatoes, eggs, baked or grilled chicken, and of course, burritos.

Morning snack: includes usually an apple or an orange
Lunch: salads are an easy way to get at least 2 veggies in. If you have at least one cup of spinach and one cup of other various veggies. My favorite would be cucumbers, tomatoes, and broccoli. Soups are another great way to get veggies in at lunchtime. I find it hard to put a whole cup of fresh veggies in a sandwich so I usually have get some on the side as well if I choose to have that for lunch.

Afternoon snack: We have lots of fruit that we bottled ourselves and the kids like these for after school snacks with graham crackers. My favorite would be applesauce or pears.

The applesauce had no sugar added, just lots of spices and it tastes better than any store bought applesauce out there.

Lately, though, we have been enjoying smoothies. I requested money for a really nice blender for Christmas from my parents. We had been looking at the Vitamix or Blendtec. I wanted something that would use the whole fruit or vegetable that would puree it nicely instead of just a juicer. While doing a search for consumer comparisons we came across a Kitchen Aid model that seemed to do just as good of job but cost a whole heck of a lot less. I had my doubts but that's what we ended up getting. I love it. I have put in a whole orange and it purees it so quickly and so well. Granted that the peel is bitter and you have to put something in to make up for that, but that's o.k. This easily counts for 2 fruits and veggies.

This one had a banana, pear, orange, yogurt, and 2 handfuls of spinach. It was by far the sweetest one and despite it's green appearance was so good. All but one of my children drank it down. My 3rd child, and pickiest eater tried it and wrinkled her nose and refused. Oh well. At least she tasted it.

This one had blueberries, a whole orange, and spinach. It wasn't the best. It had a very bitter aftertaste. I learned that it needed some yogurt or more fruit. But I did drink the whole thing.

Dinner: I usually have 2 portions of veggies at dinner. And we like green beans and broccoli so that's mostly what we eat.

But here again, I love soups. If you use a tomato base and then add more veggies it can count as two. Soups won't work as well in the summer so I'm taking advantage while it's cold. I love soups. They're easy to make and can be so good for you!

We also made our own spaghetti sauce and it's so good! It's packed with onions, garlic, and peppers along with tomatoes and no sugar added. We made over 60 quarts last year and are just now about to run out. It makes me sad to think that we'll have to buy store sauce.

So there you have it. If I follow this as a guideline it's pretty easy to get them all in. However, we all have days where the plan just doesn't work. In these cases my cheater method is to drink V8. A regular size bottle is worth 3 veggies. The smaller cans are worth one. I am aware of the sodium content in these though and try not to do it too often. I've also tried the lower sodium version and it's not worth it. Yuck. Plus, the way I sweat and get cramps, I figure that sodium isn't hurting me too much.
What secrets do you use to get in your fruits and veggies?
What health benefits do you see the most from eating more fruits and veggies?
Does your whole family enjoy them?


Emz said...


you. are. amazing.

holy cow.

I need to follow your lead.


Julie said...

Very nice! Great ideas and really...YOU ROCK! I am not so great in the kitchen. I bet your applesauce tastes great! My mom used to can a lot when we were little. We always had canned tomatoes, applesauce, pears, peaches, etc.

I manage to almost always get in almost all 7 servings in just two meals. I put about 1.5 cups of finely chopped veggies plus pineapple in my breakfast omelette and another 2.5 cups of veggies and more pineapple in in my lunch stir fry.
A smoothie easily puts me over the top!

Thanks for all the ideas :-)
I like the salsa idea! YUM!

Kate said...

I know I will regret saying this (because I'm vegan) but those eggs with veggies look amazinG!

Okay, I already regret it.

All of that food looks fantasic.

wendy said...

I like a good green smoothie too and sometimes I have a V8. Your food looks so yummy!

Please tell me the model number for your blender. I need a good blender but don't have the money for a vitamix or blendtec.

Teamarcia said...

Look at you canning queen extrordinaire! As far as veggies go I'm an all or nothing kind of gal. If I'm on track I can do it easily. If I'm off, i'm lucky to get a couple. Definitely need to work on it.

MuncherCruncher said...

Umm...can I please just come live with you?!?! You are like woman of the century with all of that canning girl! I am SUPER amazed and impressed. I pretty much want to move next store to you so I can "conveniently" run out of salsa, and applesauce, and peaches. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!? Wait...did I already ask you if you live in UT? If I did I'm sorry...don't hate me for asking again. :)
I absolutely love your 7 fruits and veggies a day goal. I am with you on the salads being the biggest help. I usually try and get at least 3-4 servings in for lunch so i don't feel quite so overwhelmed at dinner.
You are SO absolutely darling for actually watching the show last night. Super lame that they cut out the whole part at our gym...but what do ya do? The pool they showed is an endless pool. We actually have two of them at our gym which is pretty sweet!!

(Just) Trying is for Little Girls said...

Wow! Thank you for answering my question. Now, will you please come over and be my "mom" so I can get my 7 a day in without effort?
I like how you plan your snacks to be fruits/veggies. And, since I am looking for the easy way, I just added V8 juice to my grocery list for tomorrow.

Emz said...

Jen. Too. Funny.
It's from Charlie & the chocolate factory. :)

Mission in NZ?!?

Wendy said...

You rock!!

I love salsa!
I love every kind of fruit and most veggies. The trick is getting everyone else at my house to love them too.

(Just) Trying is for Little Girls said...

Hey Jen!
Tried to find an email for you...just wanted to let you know that I'm doing the AM/PM plan because of my work schedule.
However, this morning, I did spinning and then the core workout back to back. I'm so excited for my free time tonight.

Anonymous said...

I just got me a new blender too!!! My kids make smoothies all day long!! Your food looks great your doing soo awesome!!!

Candice @ I Have Run said...

This is awesome!! You have some great ideas in here. And you are a serious canner. I just started working on my food storage. I might be hiring you to come fill my shelves with your canning magic.

The Hungry Runner Girl said...

I NEEDED THIS POST!! Seriously, you are inspiring me to eat my fruits and veggies. That omelet looks amazing!! I just make sure that EVERY meal contains fruits or veggies. I feel so so much better when I am eat a plant based diet. Billy loves them but he would rather eat cheap processed food. Hope you are having a great day!

LAPT said...

That picture of canned applesauce made me huuuuungry! I would love a lesson on canning... it would be great to can yummy things to eat all year.