Have you ever paid attention to how many fruits and vegetables you eat in a day? Have you ever paid attention to how FEW fruits and vegetables you eat in a day? When I first learned about the importance of adding even more fruits and vegetables to my diet, my initial thoughts were that I already ate plenty of fruits and vegetables.
However, before I made an attempt to make any changes, I decided to start a 3 day diet diary just to get a baseline and an honest assessment of what I was really eating…
My Baseline 3 Day Diet Diary
Believe it or not, I actually consider myself a fruit and vegetable lover. However, in jotting down my initial baseline 3-day diet I could see a clear-cut pattern that my food cravings often led me down a path of looking for something crunchy or savory….and by the time I satisfied my crunchy/savory food craving I had missed the boat on eating fruits and vegetables. Your stomach can only hold so much food, you know?
Although I thought I was eating clean, I am actually embarrassed to share what I had eaten the weekend leading up to my challenge eat-more-fruits -and-vegetables challenge. After all, we did have a football season kick off celebration that included homemade pizza, pulled pork and more!
After reviewing my initial baseline 3-day diet it was very easy to see how FEW fruits and vegetables I was really eating. When I tallied up the total number of fruits and vegetables I was consuming on my typical daily diet I was shocked that the number of servings hoovered around just 5 a day. It became obvious that the only way I could possibly reach the 9 to 12 servings of fruits and vegetables I eat daily would be to make a conscious effort to do so.
In other words, I needed a plan…
How to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables in 4 Easy Steps
In order to come up with a solid plan, I referenced #1 biggest diet mistake people make (which is not eating anywhere near the optimal amount of fruits and vegetables.) These are the 5 tips for how to eat more fruits and vegetables:
- Start the day by adding fruit and/ or vegetables to your breakfast.
- Make sure to eat a large salad with either lunch or dinner.
- Make a big pot of vegetable soup on Sunday–leftovers will last all week! Have a bowl with lunch or dinner. Vegetable soup also makes a great snack and you can even eat it for breakfast. Ivy has lots of vegetable soup recipes on the blog but since I am so crunched for time I decided to go with the “Easiest Ever 3-Step Thai Cauliflower Soup” as my “vegetable soup of the week”
- Have a Green OR White (Cauliflower) Smoothie that combines fruits and vegetables everyday. Thanks to this amazing Brain-Fog Busting/ Hormone Balancing Smoothie Recipe, I have also started experimenting with substituting frozen cauliflower for greens in my smoothies.
- Supplement with REAL “whole food” fruit and veggie powders.
My Fruit & Vegetable-Rich 3 Day Clean Eating Diet Diary
So this was what my 3 day clean diet diary looked like:
- Breakfast: Blackberry Smoothie Recipe (with Hidden Cauliflower!) and a scrambled pasture-raised egg
- Lunch: Large green salad with avocado, chopped tomato, black beans and canned sockeye salmon (by the way, sockeye salmon is always wild and is lower in mercury than tuna)
- Snack: A big bowl of organic strawberries topped with some granola (I like Go Raw brand “Coco Crunch Sprouted Granola”), a drizzle of “whole” almond milk and a sprinkling of chia seeds
- Dinner: Slow Cooker Chicken Recipe with Turmeric and Vegetables and brown rice (to save time I bought frozen brown rice that I then just thawed before dinner.)
- Breakfast: Pasture-raised egg scramble with tomato and mushrooms and a side of sliced oranges
- Lunch: Large salad with tomato, red pepper, green pepper, chickpeas, walnuts & homemade “clean” Ranch Dressing
- Snack: “Easiest Ever 3-Step Thai Cauliflower Soup”
- Dinner: Broccoli pasta (I like Ancient Harvest brand “Organic Supergrain Pasta”) with basil and parmesan
- Breakfast: Red Velvet Smoothie recipe (with beets and cherries)
- Lunch: Black bean tostada on sprouted corn tortillas with avocado and a spinach salad drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and lemon
- Dinner: Grilled grass-fed steak with green beans, carrots and a bowl of the “Easiest Ever 3-Step Thai Cauliflower Soup“
- After Dinner snack: Banana “Nice Cream” (I used this recipe for Pumpkin Banana “Nice Cream”)
The Nity Gritty
I also wanted to share some of the practical details on how I made some of my food choices…
On breakfast of day one of my 3- day clean eating diet diary I had a super busy morning getting my kids off to school, and the last one to feed is usually myself! I typically have some eggs or oatmeal for breakfast, but even the idea of boiling water for myself for oatmeal can sometimes seem like too much of a task. After reading Ivy’s blog post on the #1 diet mistake people make, I decided to start the day with a smoothie made with fruits and vegetables. For me and my lifestyle, a smoothie truly is a terrific option to get my daily dose of nutrition right from the start of the day. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, I think most moms would agree that it can be an incredible challenge to not only make a healthy meal but also sit down and take the time to actually eat it. When it comes to figuring out the quickest, easiest and most time-efficient way to eat more fruits and vegetables, making a smoothie with so many nutrient rich ingredients is a small (but doable!) step in the right direction.
For lunch on day 1 I really wanted to add both anti-inflammatory omega-3’s and plant protein to my lunch, so I opted for a combination of canned wild salmon and canned black beans (after reading Ivy’s blog post on the prevalence of estrogen dominance from environmental factors, I am now taking extra care to only buy BPA-free canned beans.) Instead of dousing my salad in tons of oil, I went with the avocado as a very tasty way to get a more nutrient-dense “whole” fat . I remember from reading the Clean Cuisine nutrition book that “whole fats” are more nutrient-dense than oil of any type and that the more nutrients you can work into your diet the less food cravings you have. I have found this to definitely be true by the way. I was astonished that making a serious effort to eat more fruits and vegetables (and nutrient dense foods!) really did make a big difference on curbing my food cravings.
I don’t want to bore you with every detail of how I made every single food choice over the last 3 days, but I do want to say that making an effort to eat more fruits and vegetables is actually not nearly as difficult as you might think. And it really does make a difference. Long term I am sure I will be healthier, but in the short term I am just so grateful to have gotten a handle on my food cravings.