“Nutrition Newbie” is a series focused on basic nutrition information and tips.

Special Blog Post By: Diana Garcia, Nutrition Education Coordinator

Yummy Smoothie

Why is it so difficult to get Americans to eat enough fruits and vegetables? Even Californians who tend to eat more fruits and vegetables compared with the rest of the states are only getting two of the five recommended servings a day.

Including a variety of fruits and vegetables into our diets brings many positive, long lasting benefits to our health. People who eat just five servings of fruits and vegetables a day lower their risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other conditions.

The good news is that there are many ways to increase your consumption of fresh produce, without feeling like it’s a boring chore. If you give them a chance on your plate, you’ll realize how tasty they can be. Here are some easy ideas you can start today:

Start your morning with a veggie smoothie: This is a great way to start your morning energized. Smoothies are easy to prepare and give us the possibility to add several servings of fruits and/or vegetables to our mornings. Some of my favorite combinations are: 1.Kale, spinach, avocado, frozen banana and water. 2. Beets, apple, ginger and water. 3. Spinach, avocado, apple and water. Not only do making smoothies at home save you money, but also prevents some overly ripe produce going to waste. These are great for the picky eaters in your family too!

Think outside the box when preparing your breakfast: If you have busy mornings and time is limited, you can always get creative on the weekends. Include avocado slices on toast and top with a pouched egg, or make your egg scramble with spinach and bell peppers. If you want to get a little more adventurous, make veggie tacos with sweet potatoes and kale.

Try a new vegetable every week: The next time you go grocery shopping, choose a vegetable that it is unknown to you perhaps spaghetti squash, bok choy, celery root or any unfamiliar seasonal veggie. If you are stuck with finding healthy ways to prepare it that sounds appealing to you, the internet can be your best friend, or give us a call at the Nutrition Department and we will be more than happy to give you suggestions.

You can gradually start incorporating these tips into you routine, and soon enough you will notice that you are easily eating more fruits and vegetables than you think.

Orange and Green Smoothie Recipe
Servings: 3

1 small orange (peeled, cut in half and without seeds)
1 frozen banana
1-inch of fresh ginger
1 cup of spinach
½ avocado
1 ½ cups of coconut water (unsweetened) or filtered water

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend very well until everything is smooth. Serve immediately!

***Catch up on our past Nutrition Newbie posts.