First of all, a HUGE shout-out to Mile High On the Cheap, who sent a bunch of new readers my way this past week. Welcome, guys! I hope you’ll stick around, because we’ve got some wonderful stuff to talk about.
If you’ve been reading for a while, you may remember that when my daughter started eating solid “table” food and not purees, I started implementing a couple of rules around her meals—and decided to adopt them myself. The first was the Mix & Match Rule, which simply means that we try to eat different foods every day and at every meal. But the second was the Fruit and Veg rule, which says that we try to eat a fruit AND a vegetable at every single meal.
That second one has been falling a little to the wayside lately, especially as the abundance of fresh fruits and veggies at the market starts to wane with the changing of seasons. But a new reader emailed me this week asking me how she could do this very thing:
How do I eat more fruits and vegetables, especially in the fall and winter?
Here’s the good news: it’s totally doable! Plus, by increasing your consumption of produce—even organic produce—you’ll probably save money. Why? Because meats and processed foods are much more expensive than produce, so if you fill up snacking on and eating produce at meal times, you won’t eat as much of the more expensive foods. TRUE STORY! :)
Follow even a few of these key strategies and you’ll be well on your way to a healthy, plant-filled fall and winter:
- Commit to following the fruit and veg rule: one fruit and one veggie (at least!) at every meal. I cut myself some slack and make it a fruit OR a veggie at snack time. ;) I’m recommitting myself to this one TODAY!
- Eat veggies for breakfast. This one is hard for me, so I started a board on Pinterest of interesting-looking breakfast recipes that include veggies. Go ahead and follow me! And be sure to tag me on Pinterest if you find any I should know about!
- Know what’s in season. In the winter, it’s really easy to fall into an apples and oranges rut because we think there’s not much else in season. But it’s just not true! There’s still a bounty of fun fruits and veggies to try, even in the winter months. Expand your horizons! Check out Field to Plate to find out what’s in season in your area.
- Go beyond broccoli. Hey, we all get into food ruts, but eating the same foods over and over again could be what’s holding you back from eating your plants more often. To avoid those food ruts, you can use my Autumn Mix & Match Meal Kit (Winter version coming soon!). You’ll get, literally, THOUSANDS of meal ideas that are all seasonal.
- Change the script. Try being more positive in your language when talking about your goals—to yourself or anyone else. Instead of saying, “I don’t like vegetables,” say, “I don’t like peas,” which leaves you open to liking other things. And instead of saying, “I need to eat more fruits and vegetables,” say, “I need to eat more vegetables and fruit.” That simple switch can make things easier! (Because most of us like sweet fruits—it’s the veggies that we really need help with!)
- Snack on veggies. If you make all of your snacks revolve around veggies, you’re GUARANTEED to up your intake! Check out this great list of creative fruit and veggie snack ideas from Whole Living.
- Embrace soup. Vegetable soups of all kinds are quick, easy, portable (in a thermos) and filling—not to mention low fat and really good for you. Veggie soups are the salad of the winter months. I’ve got a great recipe for “Clean Out the Fridge” veggie soup in my e-book, and I LOVE Mark Bittman’s approach to customizing soups from his column in the New York Times.
- Give yourself permission not to like something. I don’t like peas. It’s just a thing! I can’t help it—and if there’s something you don’t like, that’s OK too! We’re all grown ups here, and we can decide what we do and don’t like. Focus on the veggies you do like, and on trying new ones, or new preparations that you might like. You don’t get points for veggie martyrdom!
Have you got any other great tips for eating more fruits and veggies in the winter? Share them in the comments below!