We all know that getting five fruits and veggies a day is key to a healthy body. In fact, no healthy diet is complete without fruit and vegetables. Fruit is often considered an alternative snack to replace less healthy options.
Unfortunately, fruit can be - dare we say it - a trifle boring. You can’t possibly compare the wizened apples in your fruit bowl to a fresh and delicious slice of cake. How can we get around this apathy towards fruit? Can a piece of fruit really compare with a sugary snack? How can you find yourself looking forward to your five fruit and veg a day? Let’s find out.
Why You Should Eat Fruit
Chances are, you already understand the benefits of fruits. It provides a plethora of vitamins and nutrients and is refreshing and delicious. They also provide a sweet alternative to sugary snacks.
Let’s take a brief look at the benefits eating enough fruit can bring.
- Strengthens bones and muscles
- Lowers your risk of developing heart disease (and other diseases)
- Some fruits are high in water content, keeping you hydrated
- High in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories
- Full of nutrients, vitamins, and fiber
- Promotes good brain health
- Nourishes skin (giving the healthy “glow” that so many of us chase!)
- Keeps the digestive system healthy
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the health benefits of fruits. However, this might not be your issue. Simply knowing something is good for you isn’t always a good enough incentive to eat it. After all, we love junk food, even though we know it’s bad for us. So what now?
Fruit vs Sugary Snacks: A Foregone Conclusion?
If you find yourself shying away from fruits and vegetables, chances are, your tastebuds are saturated. In our modern diet, many foods are highly processed and packed with sugars, salts, and artificial flavorings.
Unfortunately, highly processed foods are often the cheapest. So, if you’re working to feed a family on a budget, you may find yourself reaching for the most affordable food on the shelf. In the long run, this isn’t good for you or your family.
However, fruits and vegetables are normally within everyone’s price range. First, though, you may need to retrain your taste buds. The high sugar content in most of our food means that the natural sugars in fruit simply can’t compete.
Or, more accurately, the elderly apples and tart oranges in your fruit bowl can’t compete. Cutting down on refined sugars is not easy. Sugar is addictive, and many processed foods today contain additives that keep us craving more.
So, if you’re planning to eat more healthy, you may go through a difficult period. It’s important to realise that this uncomfortable transition won’t last. Once your body and taste are retrained to appreciate natural sugars again, you’ll find that fruit provides the sugary kick you need.
The best way to approach this is to go gradually. Make an effort to get your five fruit and veg today. Bear in mind this means five different fruits and veg. Three pieces of fruit and two vegs are definitely within your reach.
Remember that homemade smoothies are an option, too. If your smoothie isn’t sweet enough, try adding a natural sweetener like honey.
Best Healthy Fruits
Chances are, the apples, oranges, and bananas that you buy every week (and then let go mouldy in your fruit bowl) aren’t new and exciting. We love variety, and trying new things is a great way to get excited about a new method of eating.
There are more than 2 000 varieties of fruit in the world, with a plentiful selection in most supermarkets or local stores. Why eat the same fruit over and over again?
Here are a few fruits you may want to consider adding to your diet.
Aptly described as a superfood, blueberries are chock-full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. They can help reduce your chances of developing diseases like heart diseases, cancers, diabetes, and more. Blueberries are delicious in smoothies, on their own, or in baked goods. Who doesn’t love a nice blueberry muffin?
Other healthy berries include blackberries, cherries, elderberries, and more.
Bananas are already a staple in most fruit bowls. Rich in potassium, vitamins, and magnesium, bananas are also known for being sweet and delicious. If you’re not a big fan of breakfast, eating a banana in the morning can give you enough energy to get through the morning.
Bananas are also a vital component in most smoothies, and you can also use bananas for baking.
Sweet, delicious, and hugely popular - if you’re not eating mangoes yet, you should be. Full of potassium, fiber, vitamins, and folate, mangoes are also anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants.
Your first attempts at getting the mango out of its skin and away from the pit might turn out a little mangled. However, a little perseverance is definitely worth it.
If you don’t have much of a sweet tooth, avocados have plenty of vitamins and healthy fats but are relatively low in natural sugars. This makes avocados a delicious savory snack. The famous avocado toast is worth a try.
Small, sweet, and delicious, lychees are packed with vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and other nutrients. They make a perfect dessert or addition to a fruit salad.
Making the change to a primarily plant-based diet isn’t easy. You might find it easier to look into a meal plan service. Some meal plans focus on summer cleanses and contain soups, smoothies, and salads. The beauty of these meal plans is that they’re delicious, nutritious, and contain exciting new meals and ingredients. Meal plans can take the stress out of eating healthy.
Fruit in a Meal Plan
Losing weight and eating well can be challenging. There’s an age-old tenet that insists that if you aren’t miserable, your diet isn’t working. This kind of self-denial and general misery leads to too many people abandoning their healthy eating plans.
Learning to love yourself is something you should do before you focus on changing your body. This includes taking the time to really learn about who you are, and what causes any cravings or overeating that may be making you unhappy. Rewiring your beliefs can take time, but it’s worth it.