If you’re like me, getting a wide variety of 7 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables into your diet every single day is beyond challenging yet when we do, we are eating for energy and happiness! Even with my beloved Juice Plus capsules of a colorful variety of 30 fruits, vegetables and berries, I know I still need to eat fresh produce. But, it’s just not that easy so I have come up with a little reminder for myself, especially on those days where I may not be doing as well as I’d like. I ask myself, what is something raw and fresh that I can include with this meal or snack?
We know fruits and vegetables are essential for our health but why raw and fresh?
Most raw vegetables and fruits contain fiber that fills us up in a good way and simultaneously feeds the good bacteria in our gut (prebiotics) AND helps us poop. Our poop, what it looks like and how often we go, is a good measure of our daily health. Plus, “good elimination” promotes happiness and a sense of overall well being. It’s true! It’s not something most of us even consider thinking about. Unless, however, we can’t go, then we become obsessed. If this is you, and it used to be me, you know exactly what I am saying!
If you take a probiotic and you’re not feeding that good bacteria a prebiotic like fiber, what do you think the probiotic is doing? Probably absolutely nothing and you are wasting your money. Also, raw vegetables and fruits contain necessary enzymes to help our bodies break down food for better digestion and absorption. What good is it to eat something if our bodies can’t use it and why make the pancreas work harder than it needs to by trying to provide enzymes that should come from food?
How to get more raw and fresh every day
First, like I always say, plan! You can plan this before you walk out the door to buy groceries or, do it while you’re walking through the fresh produce aisles. It’s there that I often get inspired by seasonal items to try something new or something I haven’t had in a while. Here’s a tip, if you can’t easily and regularly grab something from your house that is raw and fresh, you are probably badly in need of a grocery store trip OR a total pantry overall. More on pantry makeovers coming in a future blog and on my YouTube channel..
Plan what you’ll have for most of your meals and remember your snacks count too! Planning realistically takes just 20 minutes a week or 10-15 minutes bi-weekly. SERIOUSLY. Meal planning is not prepping although when you prep you will schedule in your planning session. If you’ve never planned before, you will be surprised at how easy it is and what peace of mind you have throughout your busy week.
You don’t need massive amounts for food to be effective, besides, foods work in synergy with each other. It’s better to have a little of a lot of different colorful foods than a lot of one single thing.
It takes a minute but one thing I’ve found that helps me and my family eat more raw and fresh is to clean it (love my Norwex veggie cloth!) or wash and cut certain things so they are easy to grab. My family knows that if it’s in a certain place, it’s clean and ready to go!
If raw and fresh isn’t always available, frozen is your next best bet. Let’s be honest, I’ve tossed more “fresh” produce that had seen better days because I’d forgotten about it or didn’t plan for it and it was no longer even close to being “fresh.” Frozen fruits, kale and spinach thrown into a shake or frozen blueberries, raspberries, mango, blackberries, cherries and strawberries into a smoothie bowl are nearly as good as fresh. Sometimes, even more so since frozen produce needs to be processed and frozen as soon as it’s picked or the quality declines whereas “fresh” in the store was probably picked before ripe to survive the shipping and sitting on the store shelf for days to over a week before it ends up at your house. So, the quality of “fresh” is sometimes questionable.
So, what can you add to your meal or make as a snack?
Here are some grab and go suggestions that don’t take a lot of effort.
Have a little time to plan? Try these ideas
Remember! You’re not necessarily going for quantity but rather quality. Color and variety counts!