Healthy foods fuel a healthy life. Fruits and vegetables contain some of the most important prebiotics for the gut. Not only will they support a healthy gut microbiome, but they can lead to an improved immune system and heart health. However, these foods don’t satisfy everybody’s taste buds. Luckily, they don’t have to be eaten alone. Fruit and vegetables can be hidden into your own meals without leaving a bad taste in your mouth.
Water intake is important in the morning for cognition and function. Fruits and vegetables are water-based foods, meaning they can assist in hydration. Alongside drinking water, fruit or vegetable consumption can assist in a morning hydration routine.
The International Breakfast Research Initiative (IBRI) claims breakfast can be optimized by nutrient-rich foods with these qualities: protein, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium (1). Fruits and vegetables can provide fiber along with vitamins A and C. The rest can be fulfilled from foods such as whole grains and lean proteins.
Smoothies are an easy way to disguise fruits or greens into a tasty drink. This option is for the people who like to wake their stomach up with something light. Fruits and vegetables have become the base of many smoothie ingredients, whether it’s a banana, frozen berries, or even an avocado. They can add texture and flavor to a smoothie alongside the IBRI’s recommended nutrients.
Fruit can elevate a bland bowl of oatmeal. This whole-grain meal has been a healthy breakfast option for decades. The only downside is that it can be a bit bland on its own. Let’s think about the plain bowl of oats as just the beginning to something better; add whatever you think will make it look good. You want to replicate the taste of a blueberry muffin or an apple fritter with oatmeal? It’s possible. Fruit is a great way to elevate a boring breakfast.
Let’s not forget yogurt. This is a fast-digesting protein packed with probiotics. The role of the probiotics is to maintain the communal function of prebiotics in the gut. Combining probiotics and fruit (a form of prebiotics) for breakfast makes could potentially help with gut health.
Lunch & Dinner
Salads are not for everybody. Sometimes, a house salad can look sad. An alternate route to get in more vegetables is the stir fry. This involves a combination of foods sauteed together with oils and sauces. This is a chance to throw in some vegetables because they will be sauteed in your favorite flavors. It’s an easy way to hide smaller portions of vegetables in a meal. Overtime, the sizes of the vegetables can increase. Anything from leafy greens to cruciferous vegetables can find their way into a stir fry. Some of the most popular stir frys use teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, or sriracha to level up the flavor.
Herbs and spices can change the taste of many foods, even vegetables. Some people avoid sauces because of their sodium or sugar content. A healthier way to improve the taste of vegetables is with herbs and spices. This is a more natural way to flavor any food without the worry of adding calories (for those who count calories). These can be added to any meal brought to mind. Cinnamon, for example, can work in any of the breakfast choices previously mentioned. Stir frys can also be elevated with herbs and spices. One study showed that people are more likely to eat seasoned vegetables over steamed vegetables (2). It’s one thing to change the texture of vegetables, but to add herbs and spices to those steamed vegetables can be a game changer.
Having fruit in its most basic form is a reliable snack. It contains fiber to keep you satiated and natural sugar to keep you energized. Plus, they are easy to carry on the go. A banana, apple, or pear can simply be thrown in your bag or carried by hand.
Vegetables have been finding their way into snack form too, and we’re not talking about veggie sticks. Seaweed chips have grown a following as the new low-calorie alternative to chips. They come flavored with sea salt, teriyaki, or avocado oil.
The way you fuel yourself changes the way you feel about yourself. By implementing nature’s most natural foods, you can improve your life mentally and physically. Daily fruit and vegetable intake increases overall happiness, as shown in college students (3). This effect can happen within anybody. Fruits and vegetables can improve anyone’s day no matter their lifestyle or cooking expertise.