Veggie Chalk

How to Get enough Fruits and Vegetables — Everyday

We know that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables daily can help reduce inflammation thus reduce the risk of many leading causes of illness and death, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity….

Yet, many of us don’t hit our daily amounts. Why?

If you are like me, it might be hard to imagine that you would ever get one of those diseases. Because it feels unlikely, we aren’t motivated to change our actions, especially since getting 7–10 servings of fruits and veggies feels hard.

I made a commitment to get my daily veggies. Once I started upping my vegetable intake, right out of the gate I experienced a spike in energy, lost a few pounds (65 to be exact), ended my battle with seasonal allergies, regulated my period, and found it much easier to concentrate. So if disease prevention isn’t quite enough to keep you going, there may still be a compelling reason to try today.

The truth is that before I committed to getting my daily 7–10 servings of fruits and veggies, I actually thought I was getting them. Tracking my food for a few days showed me that I was not. I’m not alone. Sadly, 9 out of 10 Americans don’t get enough vegetables. For our health and our kids health, that needs to change. But I bet you already know that.

Knowing that we need to make a change and actually making it are two different things. A lot of us get overwhelmed with change because it seems so big, but when we break change down to little steps and tap into our true motivation, healthy change is doable for everyone.

It isn’t enough to know you need to “eat healthy.” We all know that. And you aren’t going to make lasting change by thinking that you want to fit into your favorite jeans. When I was starting to develop healthier habits especially around how I was eating, I realized that I needed to change my mindset as much as I need to change my food. I’ve made some big shifts in my thinking and stopped some of the mind games that were holding me back—and you can too.


You need to know your real why for changing your eating habits. As I said earlier, staving off disease isn’t enough to motivate most of us.

Losing weight, wanting our family to be healthier, being determined to fit into our favorite jeans again . . . I’m right there with you—but these ideas don’t cut it when it comes to making change. When I started off, I really wanted to lose weight. But that didn’t go deep enough.

You need to dig deeper to find your reason, the thing that will keep you going. So act like a 2-year-old and start asking Why? again and again, until you find a meaningful answer.

  • Why do I want to lose weight? 
    I feel uncomfortable in my clothes because they don’t fit.  
  • Why do I want to feel good in my clothes? 
    Because I how I feel in my body is getting in the way of how I show up in the world.
  • Why do I want to show up in the world? 
    Because I have gifts I’m meant to share with the world and I need more energy and clarity to share them.

Now instead of wanting to lose weight, I connect with the idea of wanting to share my gifts with the world. Your deeper why becomes enough to pull you forward.

TAKE ACTION /// Once you dig down to a meaningful why, write it downWhen you are trying to make change, tap into that why every day. Try writing your why on the top of a blank piece of paper or your calendar. As you make a list or schedule your day, make sure your day is mapping back to your why.


What does “enough” fruits and veggies even look like? Honestly, it is hard to eat too many vegetables.

Aim for 7–10 servings a day, with a serving being roughly one piece of fruit or a cup of chopped fruit/veggies (2 cups for leafy greens). That may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be hard to get them all in with a good plan.

Planning is a step many of us overlook when it comes to eating enough fruits and veggies, but it is an important one. When we plan, we can add plant-based foods throughout our day. Just as importantly, we make sure we have the healthy foods we want to eat in our house and ready to eat. A little planning and prep goes a long way.

When planning, don’t forget to multiply the serving by people in your household. When I realized that I was not eating enough fruits and veggies, I realized that I wasn’t cooking enough because I was afraid that my kids would not touch them. They did eat them, so there weren’t enough veggies for all of us to eat the right amount.



Parents may be thinking, “But my kids won’t eat vegetables.” What I’ve found is that kids are often just as happy with fruit and veggies for a snack, but society and our guilt trains them otherwise.

I’ve also seen that when vegetables are offered routinely and matter of factly, kids eat them. We can change how we think about vegetables and how our kids think of them.

Two things that I found so helpful in avoiding vegetable eating battles are the idea of rhythm and choice. Those two things may sound like opposites, but they can work together.

Rhythm sets up expectations. Say Mondays are veggie stick day for snack. Tuesday is soup night for dinner and Wednesday is rice bowl night. When rhythm is repeated again and again, there is no drama. Kids understand that it will happen—even if it isn’t their favorite thing. Kids know there are no other snack options. Parents can show up less stressed as well, knowing what is for dinner and feeling confident and prepared. An unsure parent opens a door for drama.

Within your rhythm there can be some choice. When I serve rice bowls, I put each individual food in a separate bowl. This helps address specific food needs, but also allows some choice. One kid could load up on carrots and broccoli, but skip the peppers, while another might choose three colors of peppers in their bowl for that meal.

TAKE ACTION /// Try it, without judgement or expectation. Get curious about what will happen if you set up your meals this way—and give it a chance. Rhythm takes time to build. You may feel like your child needs more variety, but trust that offering healthy choices will work without nagging or struggle.



So you know why you want to eat more fruits and vegetables, you’re creating rhythm and a plan, but maybe it still feels overwhelming. These are 10 of my favorite doable tips for working in more fruits and vegetables.

1} Start the day with a green smoothie.

Starting your day with a green smoothie gives your system a gentle start and a huge energy boost. (And you know you are closer to eating the veggies you need for the day when you pack them into your first meal.)

The great thing about smoothies is they are easy to adapt to your taste or to the fruits and veggies you have on hand.

Use this 5-ingredient formula to make your own green smoothies. Fill your blender in this order from bottom to top.


Here’s my go to combo: Tropical Kale Smoothie.

Before you decide you don’t like green smoothies, give it a fair shake. Here are a few tips that might help:

  • If you want your smoothie to be sweeter, add a banana.
  • If the texture is too coarse, try a Vitamix blender or put the mixture through a strainer. If it is too coarse with a Vitamix, use smooth ingredients like banana, mango, and avocado in the mix.
  • If it feels like thick sludge, add more liquid.

Set yourself up for success. Stock up on a variety of fruits and veggies. Frozen fruit and a box of washed spinach make it easy. Get yourself a travel mug with a straw so that you can take your smoothie with you to go, if you don’t finish in time. See if you can create a ritual around making and enjoying your smoothie.

2} Have a salad every day for lunch.

A salad for lunch is a great practice to help get your veggies and nourish yourself midday. Having a salad for lunch is simple whether you are eating at home or out.

Start with a simple salad dressing. (Make your own to avoid unnecessary additives in store varieties). All it takes is lemon, olive oil, an herb like thyme or oregano, and salt. You could also add chopped garlic, and a drop of maple syrup. You can make other variations of simple, delicious dressings. Choose a dressing that you can enjoy for a few days and make enough to fill a small jar.

Chop up or grate lots of vegetables in bite-sized pieces. I often recommend choosing 3 veggies, but you can use more variety if you like.

Find greens—buy a box of mesclun, chop romaine, find a new leaf to try.

Add crunch (or a little sweet). Top with some slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chopped walnuts or pecans for crunch. Add a little fruit for sweetness.

Add some brown rice or cooked quinoa from the fridge if you are craving a grain.

If you will be at work or out and about, pack your salad in the morning before you leave the house. If you are packing your lunch, you can pack the dressing separately on the side.

Not loving your salad? Go to a restaurant that makes awesome yummy salads and pay close attention to what they serve you. Play detective—then get creative in your kitchen.

3} Add veggies to non-veggie dishes

When you get beyond thinking about vegetables as a side dish or something you eat in a salad, the possibilities are endless. Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking:

  • Add spinach, grated carrot, celery, and onion to meatballs.
  • Go beyond celery and add chopped radish and carrot to tuna fish. (You can even add grated beet if you don’t mind magenta tuna.)
  • Add cauliflower and grated sweet potato to meatloaf.
  • If you eat eggs, mix in pretty much any veggie for an omelet or scramble (tomatoes, onions, peppers, spinach, kale, zucchini …)
  • Mix carrots and cauliflower in with lentils.
  • Make sweet potato muffins.
  • Make soup or sauce and toss in some extra chopped greens.

The idea isn’t to hide veggies in your food or sneak it by your kids, but simply to find one more way to put more vegetables on your plate.

4} Have fruit as a snack or treat.

Fresh fruit is sweet, so if you crave a sweet treat in the afternoon, try choosing fruit. You can have a simple piece of fruit—an orange, apple, cup of cherries—or you can cut up several pieces and share a fruit cup with your kids. For an extra special treat, try frozen banana with or without frozen berries blended as ice cream.

5} Place veggie sticks on your kitchen table.

When we make healthy food easily available, we’re more likely to eat it. So try this, put a plate of veggie sticks—cut carrots, celery, cucumber, peppers of different colors, radish slices—on your kitchen table or counter. You can put out some hummus or another homemade dip with it if you want.

Have it there when your kids come home from school and want a snack. Or put it out as you prep for dinner. That way if you are snacking before the meal, you are getting real food that your body needs.

6} Start with plants when planning your meals. 

Instead of choosing your protein or starch and adding veggies to round out the meal, focus on your veggies first. An ideal plate should be 1/5 protein, 1/5 grain or starch, and 3/5 a vibrant rainbow of vegetables. If your veggie selection is feeling blah instead of brilliant, try adding something new. 

Here are some ideas….



If a vegetable-focused plate is a big change for you, start by adding one extra veggie and serving less protein and starch.

Try to add a veggie from a different color segment. So if you are planning to serve carrots, try adding peas or spinach or cucumber.

Take your kids grocery shopping or go to a farmers market together. Ask them to pick veggies that are 5 different colors to try for the week.

Try a variety of a familiar vegetable in a different color, like golden beets instead of red or purple carrots instead of orange.

{7} Keep a beautiful fruit bowl filled on an organized counter.

Making room for fruit on an otherwise clear counter is one of my favorite healthy eating tips. Choose a variety of fruits each week with different shapes and colors. Arrange them in a attractive bowl or platter. It can be like a sculpture in your kitchen. And if you or your kids see a beautiful pear or ripe plum before you open the pantry and dig for snacks, that is what you will grab!

{8} Replace sweet treats.

Sugar is something that we eat way too much of as a society—sometimes unknowingly.

As women, the recommended daily allotment of sugar is not supposed to exceed 6 teaspoons, yet a specialty drink from Starbucks or a yogurt can frequently have close to double that! Still, satisfying your sweet tooth can be the difference between sticking with your healthy goals and opting out of feeling great. Smart sweet treats can be the cornerstone of a clean lifestyle.

You and your kids don’t have to give up dessert altogether. Try raw brownies. They have no white sugar or flour and they are packed with nutrition from the cacao and dates. When you eat raw desserts, your body knows when to stop so you won’t eat the whole pan. Best of all? They literally take five minutes to make—you don’t even have to bake them! They last for weeks in the fridge or freezer.

Another option? A filling and sweet smoothie.

If you want to experience true decadence, make cashew cream and top a brownie with cashew cream and berries.

{9} Top toast with avocado, tomatoes or banana and almond butter.

You may have to change your thinking about vegetables and where they belong—and also what a good breakfast or snack is. Start with adding fruit or veggies to toast, and as you get used to it, you’ll start thinking more about other ways to add veggies places you hadn’t been. (Once you get used to topping toast with avocado, you can bake sweet potato slices and top them with avocado instead of bread.)

{10) Bridge the Gap

I’m all for eating whole vegetables and fruits. In addition to the vitamins they provide, we get other nutrients, fiber, and even water from them. Using the other doable tips I’ve provided, you can get your vegetable intake where you want it to be.

If you are anything like me though, in order to get in your veggies, you have a few go-tos that make the whole food prep thing easier, which means you may not always get the variety your body needs. Or there are certain weeks that it is just too hard, with school drop-offs, work deadlines, and a birthday party.

And truthfully, the more veggies and fruits I eat, the better I feel. There is no maximum, just a minimum!

So I found a product that I love, that my kids take for free, and that most importantly gets me a larger variety than I could ever buy. It bridges the gap, so I am getting the fruits and veggies I need every day. If you want to know more, I made you a video that you can watch here.


Start with where you are and commit to one doable change a week.

You can get 10 servings of vegetables and fruit in daily, which in turn can make amazing change in your life, but—and this is important—it doesn’t have to happen overnight. In fact, you are likely to have more success if work slowly and steadily toward that goal.

Start where you are and make small, sustainable changes into new habits. Instead of diving into all 10 tips right away, choose one and get really solid with it. Maybe you simply start with a meal plan. Maybe you start with the green smoothie or the salad for lunch. Once that becomes habit, try putting out veggie sticks for a snack every day. But think doable and sustainable. And if you slide back, know that you can start again.

TAKE ACTION /// Choose your next doable change. Make sure it supports your why. Commit to it for a full week. Write it on a post-it. Put three things in your calendar that will keep you on track with that change this week.