Of all people, nurses know how important fruits and vegetables are to good overall health. But nurses are an incredibly busy and on-the-go bunch of professionals who also have little time to fuss over lots of chopping and prepping they might think veggies require. But eating more veggies isn’t as hard as it seems.

If you’re looking for a way to get more of the good stuff into your diet, here are a few tips.

  1. Change the Shape

Even if it sounds silly, it might not be the type of vegetable that’s getting in your way, but the form it comes in. Think of eating a carrot stick or a pile of shredded carrots. The sticks are great for on the go, but tough to manage in a salad. The grated or shredded carrots are perfect for the salad but sure don’t travel well. Changing how you prep your veggies can mean the difference between eating them or not. Too tired to eat a salad? Heat up a can of low-sodium vegetable-based soup. Do what works best for you.

2. Get the Tools Right

If you have the right tools to make your veggies more appealing, you are more likely to get the job done quickly. A salad shooter, a food processor, or even a hand grater can quickly turn firmer veggies like carrots, celery, radish, jicama, or even cucumbers into a pile of easily accessed veggies A hand-held blender can turn a pot of cooked veggies (a head of cauliflower, a couple of potatoes, and an onion) into a smooth soup quickly.

3. Buy Them Ready

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If you can manage the higher price, buy carrot sticks already chopped, salads already made, stir fry veggies ready for the pan, or even roasted veggies ready to reheat. If you’re going to spend extra money on treats, forgo the occasional glass of wine or latte and grab some prepped veggies without any guilt. Easily packaged, stand-alone fruits like apples, bananas, and oranges should be within easy reach, too.

4. Don’t Be a Fresh Snob

Frozen veggies are almost always just as nutritious as fresh. And if you leave broccoli in the fridge for a week before you eat it, frozen is most definitely more nutritious because a lot of vitamins get lost the older your produce gets. Frozen veggies can be ready in the microwave in a few minutes leaving you little excuse to not get enough produce.

5. Just Eat Them

What you eat is up to you. Get creative with your food. Put extra veggies in your soup, pizza, sandwich, or pasta. Roast them in a hot oven to bring out their natural sweetness or blend everything together for a hot or cold soup. Add strawberries or oranges to your salad. Throw berries on your cereal. Drink a vegetable drink or a fruit smoothie.

Forget the same old boring thing. Change up your approach to produce – how you eat it, buy it, and prepare it – and see how much your fruit and veggie intake goes up.

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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