10 Tips to Eat More Fruit and Vegetables, from a Nutritionist
Here’s the situation: you’ve got all the best intentions to embrace that plant-based life, but find yourself subsisting on French fries and chips + guac (hello, been there). It’s all too easy to focus more on what you’re avoiding (meat, dairy, eggs) rather than piling up your plate with plants.
But no one’s forcing you to change your ways in one sweeping shift. If you’ve been basing your breakfast around bacon for years, it can seem daunting to miraculously switch overnight to overnight oats. Start small, as tiny steps (a few blueberries here, some almond butter there) can compound and add up to bigger and bigger changes. Here are 10 easy ways to ramp up your vegetable and fruit intake, and love every bite.
1. Fall in love with tofu
Ahem, we mean the crispy, super savory kind—crunchy exterior, pillowy interior. The key is to look for the extra-firm variety (organic, please—soybeans are one of the most pesticide-laden crops) and to press out as much water as possible before sautéing briefly in avocado oil and then baking in a very hot oven. If you're short on time, buy a baked tofu, which simply needs to be heated it up a bit to enjoy rather than pressing, straining and cooking the raw variety. Top your perfectly crispy tofu with peanut sauce, coconut aminos, tamari or curry spices—it’s your call.
2. Prep two veggie sides at dinner
If you haven’t made friends with your roasting pan yet, now’s the time. Whenever you’re turning on the oven, be sure to toss in one small sheet pan of spiced chickpeas and a separate sheet pan of chopped vegetables (whatever’s languishing in your crisper drawer: think broccoli, cauliflower, dressed with olive oil and salt). Serving up two plant-based side options with your main course is an easy way to keep the focus of your meal on plants—and slowly start to inch meat off your plate.
3. Load up on lentils
These hearty, fiber-filled legumes take pride of place in pasta sauce and dinner salads where they add instant texture and richness. Try a lentil Bolognese over chickpea pasta (we heart Banza) or make this curried lentil salad to liven up a sad desk lunch.
4. Break out the sauce
That smoky-sweet BBQ flavor isn’t just for ribs and wings. Drizzle a bowlful of roasted veg (think: cauliflower, zucchini, red onion, asparagus) with tangy BBQ sauce and top with slices of creamy avocado—we’re betting you’ll barely miss the meat. If a kick of spice is more your thing, we love adding a chili garlic sauce for some fiery flavor.
5. Embrace breakfast salads
Little gem lettuce with roasted butternut squash and pomegranate seeds? Baby arugula with lemon and blueberries? There’s no good reason not to eat your greens for breakfast. Fill up on fiber-rich leafy greens for your first meal for a boost of energy and potent phytochemicals. Add some JUST Egg scramble on top for extra protein that’ll keep you powering through till lunch.
6. Learn the quickest way to whip up almond milk
Our secret technique couldn’t be swifter: Simply blend 3 tablespoons of almond butter (raw, if you can find it) with 1 ½ cups water for 30 seconds and watch your creamy concoction come to life—no soaking or straining required. If you’re feeling extra, add a pinch of salt, a dash of vanilla and a hint of maple syrup. Store in a mason jar in the fridge for 3 days.
7. Get into snack smoothies
Got a sweet craving? Two-ingredient frozen treats seriously hit the spot around 3pm. Blend 1 ½ cups frozen berries and ½ can of coconut cream. Serves two: Top each with a sprinkle of flaxseed or hemp hearts.
8. Try it on toast
Believe it or not, toast makes an excellent vegetable delivery system. Top a whole-grain or sourdough slice with butter or dairy-free cream cheese, then pile on the tomatoes, cucumbers, sauerkraut, roasted broccoli—or all of the above. Mandatory additions: Freshly ground pepper and flaky sea salt.
9. Do a dairy-free dessert
Your post-dinner dishes can get a plant-friendly makeover, too: Whip up some fresh cashew cream to garnish a bowl of berries, use up those brown bananas taking up space in your freezer for some nice-cream, or bake up a batch of dairy-free chocolate cupcakes, topped with coconut butter icing, of course.
10. Add an arugula salad to anything
The dark leafy green is bright, a little bitter and practically brimming with minerals and phytonutrients. Simply dressed with lemon, EVOO and salt, it sidles up nicely next to Just Eggs, soups, stews and grain dishes.