Four Nutrition Challenges for 2010

Four Nutritional Challenges for 2010
As published in the first "Connect to Fitness" of 2010, over the coming year, I will propose four nutritional challenges, goals if you will. If you accept each challenge as it is proposed, one at a time, it will compliment any other health or wellness goal you make this year and you won’t ever have to ‘diet’ again. By focusing on one challenge at a time, you are unlikely to become overwhelmed and give up.
Most Americans, health professionals included, do not eat nearly enough fruits and vegetables everyday. There would be no market for expensive health products with magical vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants if our diet came mostly from whole foods and less from processed foods. There is no one special ingredient, no vitamin, mineral, antioxidant, or other phytochemical that cures all. And guess what, if you eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, you will have everything and more that any of those special juices, pills, or elixirs can offer.

Challenge #1
Your first challenge this year, should you dare to take it, is to eat five big handfuls of fruits and vegetables everyday.
There is no need to complicate this by trying to calculate calories, carbohydrates, etc., or by getting the measuring cups and scales out. Vegetables should be mostly non-starchy, which means potato, corn and peas do not count. Try to make it usually 2 fruits and 3 vegetables, but if you happen to eat 3 fruits and 2 vegetables, that’s okay. The point is to get 5 heaping handfuls into your diet every day. And you don’t have to stop at 5—you can always have more! Five is just the lower limit. Keep this challenge simple!
Start with the fruits and vegetables that you enjoy already and then slowly add in some new ones. Eat a variety of colors and be creative, make it fun! Use fresh or dried herbs, like parsley, cilantro, thyme, oregano, basil, dill, rosemary and other healthy flavoring ingredients like spices, chilies, garlic, onion, ginger, and lemon or lime. Eat them raw or cooked, whole or sliced, fresh or frozen. Have vegetables in salads, soups, sauces or stir-fries. Use fruit in smoothies, on yogurt, salad, or as dessert.

Tips for attacking this challenge:
· Plan ahead. What will you have for breakfast, lunch and dinner this week?
· Shop and chop. Have vegetables washed and chopped, ready to grab and go, or ready to use when preparing dinner after a long day.
· Eat a fruit and/or vegetable every time you eat. If you go all day long without any fruits or vegetables and then expect to get 5 handfuls in when you get home, it is never gonna happen! So, with every meal or snack, ask yourself, “Where is my fruit or vegetable?” If one or the other or even both are not there, then something is wrong with that meal.
· Make them the first thing you eat with your meal, so you can’t forget or get full on something else.
· Ask for extra veggies. Instead of the noodle, rice, or potato that comes with your meal at a restaurant, ask for an extra serving of vegetables.

· Ideas. Visit websites like,, And don’t forget to visit my website at as I will be posting recipes and tips to keep you going.

Start the New Year Right
Start with Challenge #1, eat five handfuls of fruits and vegetables everyday and watch for the other three challenges in upcoming editions of this magazine. Challenge your clients to do the same and we will all be healthier by the end of this year!