Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Increasing Veggies and Fruits

As I've mentioned, one of my New Year's Resolutions is to increase my fruit and veggie intake. For the most part, I've been quite successful. I've always loved fruits and eaten a fair amount of fruits, and a fairly wide selection of fruits. I'm not quite as good about vegetables, but I'm getting better.

Here are a few of the things I'm doing that are working for me.

1. I nearly always eat a fruit or veggie or both with breakfast. We often have fresh fruit along with our breakfast...berries, cantaloupe, bananas (for everyone but me...I'm not a big fan, although I do add them to smoothies.) I make a smoothie along with breakfast at least 1-3 times per week now. Usually, I make them with a bit of yogurt, some frozen fruit (peaches, berries, etc.), a banana, some oatmeal and/or wheat germ and/or flax seed, 1/2 cup or more fresh spinach, and a bit of milk (sometimes almond milk because Alfredo is on a diet now and that is what he's supposed to have). Often in the evenings, if I'm having a sugar craving, a fruit smoothie will curb the craving.

2. Another way I've increased veggies in the morning is to make frittatas or potato latkes for breakfast. I included a potato latke recipe on my blog a month or so ago. For frittatas, I mix 6- 8 eggs (to make these healthier, you can do egg whites or egg beaters) and about 1/2 cup milk. Mix well. Then I chop up whatever veggies I have on hand... we like tomatoes, cilantro, red/yellow/green/orange peppers, spinach if chopped fine, onions (green, yellow or red), and I've even chopped up zuchini or squash really small and added it. Then I add a bit of shredded cheese and some crumbled bacon and/or some seasonings. Stir it all up and pour into pans. I use 2 pie tins. Bake at 400 for about 15-20 minutes until set. I serve it with whole wheat toast and it is a yummy, veggie filled breakfast.

3. I always take a fresh fruit or vegetable to eat with my lunch and/or to eat as an afternoon snack when school ends.

4. We eat salads at least 2 x per week, and sometimes more often. Usually these are a side dish and not the main course, but I do have a couple of main dish salads that we love and eat from time to time.

5. I'm trying to be conscientious about putting out fresh fruits and veggies for us to snack on while I'm preparing dinner...especially if dinner is going to take a while.And if we get hungry between meals, I try to reach for fruits or veggies as snacks most of the time.

6. As often as possible, I incorporate vegetables into whatever I'm cooking for dinner. For example, instead of just making chicken noodle soup with carrots, celery and onions, I will throw in brocolli, squash, corn, potatoes, peppers, beans (such as great northern beans), etc.

7. I'm also trying to be conscientious for myself (and to a lesser degree for my kids) about using whole grains rather than white breads. We still eat sugary cereal on ocassion and we still love cinnamon rolls from time to time. My kids would still prefer white bread and they sometimes get white bread. But our pancakes and waffles are all whole wheat (and usually with wheat germ and flax seed added in.) I'm trying to get them to eat wheat bread more often. I eat a 9 grain hot cereal pretty regularly but no one else will eat it. I often buy whole wheat pasta (but not exclusively...some types of pasta don't seem to come in whole wheat...at least not where I shop). I often buy whole wheat tortillas.

What I've loved is that we are eating healthier, but I haven't had to make major changes to what I'm cooking. The changes have been small and steady but still allow us to enjoy our favorite foods.

I love the website Skinny Taste because she has great, healthy and delicious meals. Nearly everything I've tried from her site we have enjoyed. Also, for Christmas, I bought myself the small little cookbook "Completely Breakfast" by Carlene Duda. There are lots of great recipes... including Savory Fried Potatoes, Bacon Cheddar Frittata (which I modified to get my frittata above), Granola Waffles. I love, love, love her Creamy Raspberry Waffles (although they weren't a hit with the rest of my family...so I sometimes make them just for myself...and eat them for a couple of days while everyone else has plain pancakes or waffles).