By now you know the importance of getting at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, especially throughout your pregnancy. Perhaps you are still not convinced? Use the excuse-buster list below when you find yourself reasoning your way out of reaching for the good stuff. Excuses are easy to make, but when you can bust them wide open, you’ll find that not only can you reach your healthy-habit goals more quickly, but your pregnancy will be a lot smoother. |
Excuse 1: Buying fruits and vegetables can be costly and they spoil too quickly.
Excuse 2: They take too long to prepare.
- Buy them in-season and fresh. They will be cheaper AND at their peak of flavor. Consider that you are getting nutrient-dense foods that your body craves and your baby needs, full of vitamins and minerals. They are certainly better buys than chips, cookies, and soda, which we normally buy regardless of cost.
- Buy both ripe and unripe items (for example, yellow and green bananas). That way you have some for immediate eating the first few days while the others are ripening.
- Keep fruits and vegetables on the top shelf of the fridge, on the kitchen counter or table. If you see them several times in a day, you will be more likely to eat them before they spoil.
Excuse 3: Fresh fruits and vegetables contain harmful pesticides.
- Take advantage of your grocery salad bar, which provides already sliced varieties. Eat them in snack form or toss in a salad with less prep time.
- Stock up on frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. These are simple to prepare in the microwave and offer similar nutritional value to the fresh variety. Sometimes frozen vegetables lock in nutrients better than “fresh” ones that have sat for a few days. If buying canned food, look for the low-sodium kind.
- Wash, slice, and dice ahead of time. Store in a clear container in the front of your fridge where you can see and reach for it on a daily basis for immediate use.
Excuse 4: Vitamins are easily lost when you cook fruits and vegetables.
- Debates continue on the dangers of pesticides used on our foods. Remember that the FDA regulates pesticide use very strictly. You might consider buying “organically grown” varieties, which means that no pesticides are used (though there is no confirmed evidence on whether organic is any healthier than conventionally-grown produce). Most health authorities report that the health benefits that come from eating fruits and vegetables outweigh the concerns of pesticide use. Still skeptical? The following steps will help reduce risks.
- Wash produce with warm water. Don’t use any soaps. Scrub well with a dish brush. This is important especially if you are eating the outer skin of items such as apples, cucumbers, or potatoes.
- Discard the outer leaves of leafy vegetables that tend to be dirty, such as lettuce and cabbage.
- Peel and cook when appropriate.