Barriers to Healthy Eating
Have you faced problems with incorporating vegetables and fruits into your diet? Maybe you have some picky eaters at home? Do you believe that fruits and veggies are too inconvenient? This is a common misconception that we want to change! It’s the Greenhouse Education Center (GEC) Nutrition Educators here to help you face and conquer some barriers to eating vegetables and fruits!
We compiled some of the most common barriers that may come with eating and incorporating vegetables and fruits into a diet. Some of these include:
Keep reading to better understand these barriers and learn some tips and tricks on how to combat them!
Barrier 1: Convenience
Convenience. You may hear this word tossed around often and think to yourself, what does it mean? Convenience can be thought of as an effortless way of living or as something made easy. Doesn’t that sound nice?
However, when it comes to the topic of incorporating fruits and vegetables into your life, the word convenience may not seem applicable. The prep, storage, and availability of fresh produce can often be thought of as a tough task to complete. But do not fear! The GEC Nutrition Educators have 4 tips for you to help make vegetables and fruits more CONVENIENT in your life!
4 Tips to Help Make Vegetables & Fruits More Convenient
- Planning Ahead – One easy way to make vegetables and fruits more convenient in your life is to plan ahead. Planning ahead can save you time later in the week and it can help keep healthy snacks conveniently available for eating in the home or readily on the go.
- Buying Local – Buying local can allow you to find fresher produce as it doesn’t have as far to travel and can be delivered to your table sooner! This way you have access to fresh foods that you can use to create yummy meals and snacks that will go further in your home.
- Use Proper Storage – Optimizing storage can help you keep your produce fresher for longer. You may be surprised to learn that not all vegetables and fruits belong in the fridge! Check out the best storage options for produce using the Veggie Storage Guide and learn how to keep your produce fresh for a longer time by checking out the blog, How to Properly Organize Your Fridge.
- Opt for Convenient Food Swaps – You can easily fit fruits and vegetables into your diet by choosing produce over less healthy options that will still meet your food cravings. Check out the blog, 12 Tasty (and Healthy) Alternatives to Your Favorite Junk Foods to learn about some healthy food swaps for your different cravings.
Barrier 2: Taste
‘Veggies?!? Blahhhh!’ – This is something that you may hear a lot with kids and even some adults. When it comes to incorporating more vegetables and fruits into one’s diet, taste is a HUGE factor. You or someone you know may have turned down a certain food in the past because of its taste. But we are here to give you a few tips on how to re-visit different foods and overcome this barrier for even the pickiest of eaters. Here are 4 tips to help transform the TASTE of vegetables and fruits.
4 Tips to Help Transform the Taste of Vegetables & Fruits
- Sneak It In – Don’t enjoy a certain vegetable? Can you sneak it in anywhere? Many produce items can be easily added to sauces, soups, casseroles, and stews without any trace! Try these recipes to find other ways to sneak produce into great food: Green Tomato Blueberry Jam, Strawberry Bell Pepper Smoothie, and Cucumber Apple Dip.
- Seasoning – Are you bored or tired of the same flavor? Try spicing your produce up with the flavors of herbs, spices, or infused vegetable oils. Try to choose these options more often than butter and salt to make your meal a healthier option. Also, try some low fat dips with raw vegetables for a crunchy and savory snack. If you like sweeter food, try roasting or steaming vegetables to make them more tender and yummy. Most important, change up your routine! Don’t get bored with food – there are so many options and recipes to explore!
- Texture – Sometimes you might think you don’t like the taste of a food, but it might actually be the texture you find unpleasant. If this is the case, then try preparing the food differently to change the texture. You can boil, roast, barbecue, bake, the options are endless. You can experiment with different cooking techniques to try and find what works best for you.
- Exposure – Fun Fact: it can take over 10 times for a child trying a new food to decide that they like it. That is why it is so important that you continue to offer different foods to your child, even if they have previously claimed that they do not like it. There are so many different types of fruits and vegetables that if you find your family liking only a small range, you can try to challenge yourself to purchase some fun, new produce on your next trip to the grocery store!
Barrier 3: Cost
One of the most common barriers to incorporating vegetables and fruits into one’s diet is cost. Cost may be a complicated barrier, but we are here to tell you that eating fresh vegetables and fruits are totally feasible! Here are 3 Pro Tips to help tackle the barrier of cost.
3 Pro Tips to Help Tackle the Barrier of Cost
- Pro Tip #1: One way to help bring down the cost of your grocery bill while still incorporating fresh produce is to compare prices between different locations. Use online flyers and apps like FLIP to instantly compare prices and help make shopping for fresh produce cost effective.
- Pro Tip #2: If you are a meal prepper or LOVE planning, this tip is for you! Try buying your produce in bulk and meal prepping for the week to help save some time and money.
- Pro Tip #3: If you don’t have time to meal prep and make use of products bought in bulk, then stick to buying only what you need! By purchasing smaller amounts of produce more often, you can avoid wasting vegetables and fruits due to spoilage, and help combat food waste.
For more great ideas on how to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet while still being mindful about costs, check out the blog 12 Tips For Healthy Meal Planning (On A Budget).
Get Creative in the Kitchen
Overcoming the barriers to eating vegetables and fruits isn’t as hard when you have some support and a strong plan. By using the tips above and a little creativity, the GEC Nutrition Educators hope you have discovered some of the many possibilities when it comes to incorporating vegetables and fruits into your eating routines.
That’s it for now, GEC Nutrition Educators over and out! Stay tuned for more informative and helpful blogs coming soon.