By Alane Archer, ND, CNC

Do you need to eat more greens?

eat more greens V-A-R-I-E-T-Y. It’s the variety—not just the quantity of servings—of different colored fruit and vegetables eaten daily that is associated with the greatest health benefits. However, one need only visit the nearest mega-sized supermarket to notice what kinds of foods fill the average American grocery store cart at the expense of fruits and vegetables: processed, empty-calorie foods alongside sweetened and alcoholic beverages.

People tell me all the time, “Produce is too expensive.” If I were to look into their grocery basket, I would see, chips, crackers, soda, and sweets. It is true; it is hard to afford both. It is also true you cannot have both junk food and a healthy body.

The best place where shoppers can start “getting their plates in shape” is at the supermarket—by, first, ditching the “junk” (high in sodium, added solid fats, and added sugars) that research shows tend to replace fruits and vegetables in grocery carts. Switching to high-nutrient, lower-calorie fruits and vegetables is not only good for the health of consumers but also good for their figures.

Ready to learn a few tips to use today? Here we go.

1. Make every effort to consume up to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily, especially in the form of leafy greens. Add +1 serving a day over the course of 2 weeks. If you do not want to eat nine of them, try a fruit and vegetable green drink for a few of them, we have several on our online store listed on our website.

2. Cut out foods that lack nutrients, such as sugary drinks, sodas, junk foods, and high-calorie snacks. Make room for more veggies and fruits.

3. Make a substitution switch: spaghetti sauce over zucchini or spaghetti squash, cauliflower pizza, cauliflower rice, Get Creative!

4. Choose a high-quality greens supplement. One of my favorites contains over 30 greens including spirulina, ginkgo biloba, parsley, green tea, and kale. Low in sugar with no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors.

5. Add extra veggies to soups, salads, or eggs! Throw in some leftovers from the night before into your meal tomorrow. Slice, dice, or puree!

There are a variety of grocery stores available to you for a choice of produce. If you have access to a local ethnic market, take a look inside! I find my most inspiring fruits and veggies when I shop somewhere new. If there is a local farmer’s market nearby, support your community and visit them. Get the whole family involved. Allow either yourself or a family member to choose a new item from the produce section and add it to your meal.

Have you ever been curious about your nutrient levels? Even people that eat very healthy can have low or imbalanced vitamin and mineral levels. And by doing nutrient testing, you will know for sure which foods you need to increase. For example, if your antioxidants are low you can increase foods high in antioxidants, and if your zinc is low, you can increase foods rich in zinc.

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Medical disclaimer: Our tests cannot be used to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. All test results are to be used as educational materials and as a guide to help support your overall health and wellness. Always discuss health concerns with your medical doctor.