In the past few weeks it seems like everyone that I know is getting sick.
When an illness is going around, it is really important to eat healthy and get rest to strengthen your immune system.
I may sound like a broken record when I say, "Don't forget to eat your fruits and vegetables," but it really is very important. A lot of people say that it's hard to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and they don't like the way they taste.
For this weekend, I'll share five ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet:
My favorite secret to masking greens is by putting them in, what I like to call, a super power protein smoothie. In this smoothie there is 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 cup frozen spinach, 1/2 cup frozen berries, 1 banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds and 1 container of low-fat vanilla bean Greek yogurt or 1 scoop vanilla protein powder. This is a great breakfast option when you don't have time to sit down and eat breakfast or need to refuel post workout.
Pancakes are my favorite food choice. I could eat different types of pancakes every single day. Blueberries and chia seeds are my favorite additives to whole-grain pancakes, and now shredded zucchini and apples are too. These are so good, especially with organic agave on top. I keep them pre-made and in the freezer at all times.
Instead of just adding bananas to your cereal (preferably a high-fiber, whole-grain variety) also add some fresh berries. Berries are really high in antioxidants and they give the milk such a good flavor.
Try adding more vegetables to your burgers. If you use lean turkey or lean ground beef to make homemade burgers -- add some veggies to the mix. Shred up zucchini, bell peppers and mushrooms, then mix it with the meat and 1 egg before you prepare your patties.
Serve fresh veggies instead of chips when you have people over or need a snack for yourself. Vegetables are much higher in fiber and will make you fuller with fewer calories. Mix some garlic powder and fresh ground pepper in non-fat plain Greek yogurt for a healthy and high protein dip for the veggies.
I always like to encourage small and specific goals because they are the most attainable. It's harder when you just say that you want to "get healthy" or "get fit" because that is just too broad and overwhelming.
It's Super Bowl weekend so you could even serve a veggie tray and burgers with added vegetables at your football gathering for a start. As always, keep working hard and being healthy.
Lunden Souza, a Merced native, is a personal trainer, health and wellness coach and writer in Southern California. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.