January is the season of New Year’s resolutions, and many of them revolve around health and wellness goals, and 2021 is no different. Rather than looking at the beginning of the new year as “going on a diet” think about it in terms of embracing a healthier lifestyle. Let’s be honest- although we all want a “quick fix”, the truth is that our health and wellness goals won’t arrive as quickly as our online shopping orders with free two-day delivery.
Kick 2021 into full gear by moving away from quick-fix resolutions and toward making more fruits and veggies a long-term habit. Below, I am sharing quick fixes and short-cuts to help you add color to your plate all year long, all while boosting your mood and your health this new year.
8 Simple Fixes to Help You Get Produce On Your Plate:
- Add color and flavor to a simple breakfast. Start the day off with a serving of produce. Add frozen berries to your warm oatmeal, add sliced bananas to your peanut butter toast, add leftover veggies to omelets, or give avocado toast a try.Tip: For avocado toast, I highly recommend a whole grain bread as your base. Next, blend your ¼ of an avocado with a dash of lime juice, a sprinkle of garlic and onion powder, and just a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix it up and spread on your whole grain bread, then, top with sliced tomatoes- I promise, it won’t disappoint!
- Don’t let your spinach go to waste! If you have leftover spinach, simple puree it in a blender with a small amount of water and freeze in ice cube trays. Pop these into a smoothie for an easy nutrition boost.
- Take advantage of frozen produce! Frozen fruit and vegetables are a tasty, convenient, and nutritious option for produce. Frozen vegetables can easily be added to casseroles, egg bakes, or even just steamed for a simple side dish. Frozen fruit can of course be added to smoothies and baked good, but frozen fruit, such as frozen grapes, are a personal favorite for a quick, refreshing snack.
- Canned fruit and vegetables offer a shelf-stable option for optimal nutrition. Simply drain and rinse canned vegetables to reduce the sodium. Then, add them to quick meals such as taco mixes, salsas and cold salads. Keep a few cans of canned fruit in 100% juice on hand. Enjoy these toward the end of the week when the fresh produce is gone. Canned fruit is great on its own, and you can even use the juices in marinades and sauces. It’s a win-win!
- Sheet pan dinners for the win! Shop for fresh, in-season vegetables and simply chop them up, add some salt, pepper, and a bit of thyme and garlic powder. Toss them on a baking sheet with your favorite seasoned protein and bake in the oven for 15-30 minutes. (Ensure your protein reaches proper internal temperature. Ex: 145°F for fish, or 165°F for chicken).
- If You are short on time, purchase pre-cut fruits and veggies! Head to your local grocery store. Many offer a wide selection of fresh, pre-chopped fruits and vegetables that will help you get dinner on the table in no time.
- Add flavor and texture by roasting or air frying vegetables. If you are looking for a simple, side, those fresh, in-season vegetables are always great roasted! Chop, season with olive oil, and your favorite herbs. Toss in a 400°F oven for 10-30 minutes, until lightly browned. Or, if you have an air-fryer, cook at 465°F for about 8 -12 minutes for a quick side.
- Don’t waste fresh produce! Be smart with your produce. If you know it will go bad soon, use it up for freeze it! My favorite way to use leftover vegetables is to add them to an egg bake. You can make a whole pan, or you can make mini egg muffins packed with vegetables and a bit of cheese for a quick and easy grab n’ go meal on the go. You can also utilize extra fresh vegetables in a simple stir fry dish or soups!
This year I challenge you to find joy in adding color to your plate with more fruits and vegetables. Try new recipes that you find online, maybe do a fun virtual cooking night with some friends or take an online cooking class. Treat yourself to good health by exploring the amazing ways to #haveaplant all year long; after all, produce does make you healthy and happy!
Cheers to 2021! Wishing you all good health and happiness in the year ahead!