One year I decided to set six New Year’s resolutions for myself. And we all know how that ended. I had high ambitions for myself and they slowly came crumbling down as the year progressed…because there were a lot of other important things I needed to focus on. Like my job. And my marriage. But…I still like the idea of setting new goals for myself—like trying to get myself to blog every day, or workout on a consistent basis. So this year, I decided to keep it simple with just one goal this year. And that’s to eat fruits and/or vegetables with every meal.
Within reason, of course. I know there are probably going to be circumstances throughout the year where I may not have access to fruits or vegetables with a meal, and that’s alright. This health goal is more about challenging myself to eat more produce on a regular basis while I’m at home. Instead of just eating sourdough chocolate chip muffins, I’ll eat them with a side of berries to round out the meal.
This health goal was inspired from a recent appointment I had with a nutritionist. Like a lot of people, I found myself really frustrated with my health and my nutrition this year—the pandemic really played a toll on our bodies. So I consulted a nutritionist and asked her advice on things I could do to simply feel better in my body, and while she gave me a lot of great advice, one of my favorites was to set up my plate using the MyPlate guidelines through the USDA.
If you aren’t familiar, let me explain. Remember the food pyramid we were told to follow many moons ago? Well, it’s now an old nutrition model that has been retired, and the USDA now encourages people to follow their “My Plate” guidelines instead—an easy guide on how to set up a nutritious plate for every meal.
The guide is simple—fill 1/4 of the plate with protein, 1/4 of the plate with a healthy carb, and 1/2 the plate with fruits and/or vegetables.
As you know, I’m all about a good guideline (salads, sheet pans, cheeseboards…you name it). Her advice to follow the MyPlate guidelines felt like a breath of fresh air, and something that I could easily do to feel better as I continued to ride out the pandemic at home.
So…I tried to follow it. And I was really shocked to find out that I’m actually not that great at adding fruits or vegetables to every meal. Sure, a side of leafy greens with dinner every now and then. But I rarely eat fruits or vegetables with my other meals unless they are incorporated into my meals, which had me thinking: maybe this would be a great goal for 2021.
It’s a really simple goal, but after a really hard year, I like the idea of something simple. And if you’re also in need of a simple way to eat healthier in the new year, join me by eating fruits and/or veggies with every meal! It can be one or even both—whatever you choose.
How to eat fruits and vegetables with every meal
Here’s my #1 trick: Stock up on ready-to-eat produce. You don’t always have to cook your vegetables. Sure, roasted vegetables are delicious, but it does take more time to prepare.
Instead, buy vegetables or fruit you like to eat as is, and simply add them to your plate. It makes adding fruits and vegetables to your meal that much easier.
No-cook vegetables you can stock up on:
Some of my favorite vegetables to eat without cooking include:
- Bell pepper slices
- Baby carrots
- Sugar snap peas (with dip!)
- Cucumber slices
- Celery sticks
- Leafy greens (with dressing!)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Tiny broccoli florets.
Fruits as sides:
Really you can grab any fruit you love—but there are a few in particular I personally love to stock up on:
- Raspberries (my favorite!)
- Apples (cut into slices)
- Watermelon (summer)
- Peaches (summer)
- Nectarines (summer)
So, what do you think? Want to join me in 2021 with this easy-to-follow health goal? I think it’s a good enough challenge, but simple enough to execute. Let me know in the comments below if you plan on joining me, and happy new year!