My new Food Habit for January was to eat more Fruit and veg. In terms of practical implementation this worked out in a few different ways (this is very much an “us” goal as my husband has been kind of forced to participate!):
- Focusing more on vegetable dishes/side dishes for our meals
- Focusing on the logistics of buying fresh – often the only obstacle to me eating more fruit and veg is the hassle of going out to buy it more often (because it doesn’t always keep) – so getting over that and realising the five or ten minutes it takes to pop into the shop is not the end of the world – that’s been probably the biggest hurdle overcome. If I have fruit and veg in the fridge I will eat it. When I do a weekly shop I’ll try to buy at least ten types of vegetables/salad materials (which tend to keep better) and then go a couple of times a week for fruit.
- Buying more fruit for snacks at work and actually eating it rather than just giving it away to my colleagues 😉
- Trying to have fruit for puddings at home more often and breaking out of my quite scary yoghurt addiction!
- We haven’t really broadened much in terms of variety because we already eat quite a spread, but we’ve tried using different things in different ways (e.g. cooking with celery) or buying things in different forms (e.g. frozen corn cobs!) and we’ve had a couple of not particularly seasonal things like mangoes and cherries which were a bit out of the way.
What I’ve learned:
A month is a really good time-frame for a goal like this – it gave me plenty of time to think, try things out and get used to the idea. Plus if they say it takes 21 days to make a habit, I have a few extra days to cement it! Here’s what I learned from trying to use more fruit and veg:
- Although we didn’t try out that many new recipes, I’ve grown much more confident about what to do with vegetables! Give me a selection of 4 or more veg and I’m pretty sure I can make a salad, stew or stir-fry that’ll be hearty and tasty.
- Veg can easily be enough by itself. I realised this one day when I was prepping stuff for dinner, I had a courgette, two peppers and an onion and I thought “meal”. It’s taken a while to reach that point but it’s good and also cuts costs. Also a couple of times we’ve successfully added just a little bit of protein to something that’s largely just veg – a bit of chicken added to a stew, a bit of salmon to some pasta – just to add to the flavour and texture without splashing out on expensive fillets.
- If you get 10-15 portions of fruit/veg in a day then all you really need to add is a bit of lean protein and maybe something more substantial in the morning and you’re there: instant healthy diet! I’m sure that focusing on eating more f&v has helped me to eat less junk.
- A lot of the time the veg we eat is the “sexy” part of our meal. In our house, most of our protein comes in the form of baked or grilled chicken, steak or fish of some description (we could probably use a future Food Habit of pimping our proteins!) and it’ll be quite plain, and then the veg on the side will be where all the variety herbs/spices/condiments are for flavour. I quite like that balance of a nice clean piece of meat or fish with a well-seasoned salad or a spicy stir-fry. So the veg is on its way to becoming the main event in our house.
- Adding more vegetables has bulked up our meals and meant that more often than not I’ll have something to bring for lunch at work.
- Going out of our way to buy fruit has meant we’ve had some really tasty finds and that’s made life feel a little more luxurious than usual. The market is a great place for this! If we buy nice stuff I find I really look forward to it as a substitute for other puddings.
- I feel much better from all the nutrients – much healthier and I think my hair and skin is better.
It’s been a really good habit to learn and hopefully we’ll keep fruit and veg as central to our diets from now on!