Eat your fruits and veggies is a catchphrase we always hear. But if you had to choose between fruits or vegetables, what would you pick? When I think of fruit I think of it as more of a treat rather than an important food group, whereas with vegetables, I eat them because I have to, not because I particularly want to. Fortunately, I've managed to marry the two into my diet quite successfully.
Thankfully, I'm not deviating that far from the norm with my preference of fruit over veggies; as Newsweek reports, the desire for sweetness is actually hardwired into humans. Steven Munger, an associate professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Maryland who is quoted in the article says that if we look back to the days of primal survival when humans were required to make quick decisions about what to eat out in the wild, something sweet usually proved to be a safe food option — not to mention lots of calories to be later burned off as energy. I guess you could say our sweet tooth cravings date way back before the invention of chocolate sundaes, M&M's, and cotton candy.
As important as fruits are in our diet, it's important to make sure we're eating lots of veggies because their health benefits are endless. Aside from providing us with vital nutrients and minerals for our health, they also reduce the risk of some chronic diseases.
Here are a few fun ways to trick your taste buds into liking veggies.
- Set aside some time each week to wash, cut, peel, and store your vegetables. Trust me, rather than reaching for the cookie jar, you'll be more inclined to grab a piece of cucumber or a carrot stick. Eventually your taste buds will warm up to the idea of snacking on veggies over sweets.
- Try making small substitutions. For instance, swap cheese on a sandwich for lettuce, tomatoes and pickles, add veggies to a bowl of chicken noodle soup, or make spinach to accompany your burger instead of fries. And you can always add in more vegetables to a stir-fry or swap meat for vegetables as your main ingredient in a dish.
- On a recent Dr. Oz episode, Dr. Oz talked about a fruit called miracle fruit that actually coats your tongue and makes sour food taste sweet. He tested it out on the show and couldn't believe how well it worked when he tried eating a lemon. The miracle berry tablets melt on your tongue, are all natural, and make bitter food taste sweet. So if you really do dislike the taste of vegetables, you can ease yourself into eating more with these handy tablets.
In honor of National Nutrition Month, we've broken down each color of the rainbow and discussed why certain fruits and vegetables are important to incorporate into your diet — so be sure to check it out!