The first “real food” mini-pledge is here, and we are just thrilled with all the positive feedback that we’ve gotten about these little challenges so far! And just to make sure we start things off on a good note we are not going to ask you to give something up during this first week, but instead ask that you add something to your diet. So here’s your first real food “mini” challenge, which will start on Monday…
Week 1: March 14 – March 20 – Eat a minimum of two different fruits or vegetables (preferably organic) with every breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal.
To be honest this would even be a challenge for us, which is why my family is going to do this first pledge along with you. I always try to have at least one fruit or vegetable with every meal, but having two doesn’t happen quite as often. I know there are also plenty of people out there who eat meals without any fruits or vegetables at all. And the reason we ask that you buy organic produce is because it is more nutritious (due to the fact it is grown in a more nutritious soil), and you won’t be consuming chemical pesticides and fertilizers along with it (which is absorbed by conventional produce). This first week is also a perfect opportunity to involve others in your household…especially your children! But before you get started make sure you stock up this weekend on a big bowl of fresh organic fruit so everyone can easily grab it even when they are on the go.
The whole point of this particular challenge is for you to displace something else that you would normally eat (like chips or fries or even crackers) with some colorful produce. So for those that are worried about the extra expense of organic fruits and vegetables try buying more produce INSTEAD of something else that you would normally buy. And also consider buying frozen organic produce, which is a wonderful alternative to fresh and usually much cheaper (although it is unfortunately not always as tasty). Please be aware though that there are two things that do not count for this particular challenge: dried fruit (like raisins) and fruit juice – sorry about that!
So with that being said, here are some tips and meal ideas to help you survive the week…
- For breakfast…
- Put some small bits of fruit in your cereal or oatmeal (like frozen blueberries or bananas), and also have some fruit (like apples or pear) on the side
- Mash up some bananas to go inside your pancake batter and offer a second fruit like grapefruit on the side
- Make an omelet with chopped bell peppers inside and have some fruit to go along with it as well
- Have a smoothie with your breakfast especially if you have to run out the door…you can easily throw in a lot of different fruits (and even veggies like spinach)
- For lunch…
- Try making a sandwich or wrap with a veggie inside (like cucumber or lettuce or avocado) and also have some fruit on the side
- Cut up some raw veggies that you can dip into something like hummus
- Soups are often packed with veggies and would be easy to heat up (or take to work) if you had some leftover from dinner the night before
- If you are going out to lunch consider bringing a banana or apple with you (or eat it beforehand) to supplement your meal…restaurants don’t usually offer very many fruit items on their menu
- For dinner…
- Have a salad with your dinner as well as a side of veggies
- Make a one-dish meal like pasta, stir fry, or quesadillas where you can easily mix in a variety of vegetables
- Eat two vegetable sides instead of a starch like rice
- Consider adding fruit to your dinner…I always think of dinner as a time to have veggies, but fruit would often be a good addition as well
- Recipes that incorporate two or more veggies/fruit…
- Fruit Smoothie or PB&J Smoothie
- Farmer’s Market Stir Fry
- Caprese salad
- Sweet Potato and Apple Side
- Tomato Corn and Black Bean Side Salad
- BLT Sandwich
- Quiche (with two diced veggies mixed into the egg)
- Salad with a Twist
The key with produce is to go for variety and color, and you might even want to try something new. For each new mini-pledge (including this one) it will be up to you to decide if you want to sign up for just one meal, one day, or for the entire week. Some of the upcoming pledges will truly be a challenge for only one meal, but (just being honest here) I don’t think this is one of them. So I highly encourage you to take on this pledge for the entire week, which again will start on Monday, March 14 and end on Sunday, March 20.
To take the Week 1 Mini-Pledge: Please leave a comment below with the number of adults and children in your household that will take this on, and also share if you will do it for one meal, one day, or the entire week. There is just something about putting it in writing that makes it official!
We wish you luck!