The Dietitian Challenge: Week One

December 30, 2013

In the United States, many of the leading health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer may be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle. In order to help you to achieve this, Harmons Dietitians will be issuing a series of challenges for the next several weeks to help you to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. This first challenge will begin on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 and will go through Tuesday, January 7th. Please share with us how you were able to meet this challenge (we’d love to see pictures of your food!). 

The Dietitian Challenge Week One

Eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables per day

As Laura illustrated in her blog several weeks ago most Americans are not eating enough fruits or vegetables to meet the minimum recommendations for health. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may help prevent chronic disease, help to meet vitamin and mineral needs and, due to their generally low-calorie and high-fiber content, fruits and vegetables may help with weight loss and maintenance. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables for the most health benefit from this challenge. 

tipsTips for meeting fruit and vegetable needs:

Planning is key

  • Plan your fruits and vegetables for the week, create a list and shop
  • Planning meals and snacks with common ingredients can save time and waste
    • e.g. Slice a whole bell pepper and use ½ in a stir-fry and use the rest as a side at lunch
  • Plan time to prepare fruits and vegetables for snacking and lunches
    • Place cut up fruit or vegetables into individual containers to make it easy to take with you

Start the day with a cup of fruit and/or vegetables at breakfast

  • Enjoy an apple baked with cinnamon and topped with yogurt and a sprinkle of toasted nuts
  • Add fresh or unsweetened dried fruit to your morning oatmeal or cereal
  • Enjoy a whole-grain frozen waffle topped with nut butter and banana
  • Blend vegetables and fruit into a smoothie and portion into individual cups for mornings when you need to eat on the go
  • Enjoy a vegetable filled omelet or frittata
  • Create a breakfast sandwich filled with spinach, onion, tomato and a slice of mozzarella

cupAim for 1 ½ cups of vegetables and/or fruit at lunch

  • A salad with fruit and vegetables is an easy choice
  • Layer a sandwich with roasted vegetables (this is a great way to use leftovers)
  • Dig into a vegetable soup
  • Fill a pita pocket with hummus, grated carrot, lettuce, cucumber, and tomato
  • Enjoy a side of fruit salad
  • Load tuna salad with tomatoes, jalapenos and onions; add a squeeze of lime juice and chopped cilantro as a bonus

Aim for 2 cups of vegetables and/or fruit at dinner

  • Build a substantial salad with a mix of vegetables and your favorite protein
  • Enjoy pasta with a marinara sauce
  • Start dinner with a vegetable soup
  • Roast a mix of vegetables to add variety
  • Stir-fry a mix of vegetables with your choice of protein
  • Create a fruit salsa to top chicken or fish
  • Enjoy fruit as dessert after your meal

Snack to help fill in the gaps

  • Dip cut veggies into hummus
  • Bite into an apple spread with almond butter
  • Create a personalized trail mix with unsweetened dried fruit and nuts
  • Mix frozen berries into ricotta
  • Sprinkle edamame with a pinch of salt and chipotle chile powder