The goal of the Happy Healthy Mama Healthy Year Challenge is to work on one specific health goal each month. Together, we are working for form habits that will stay with us and help us be our healthiest selves. I’m so happy that February is the Eat More Plants Challenge!
This is something I feel passionately about. No matter what diet or food philosophy you subscribe to, every person can benefit from eating more vegetables and fruits. Plant foods, especially vegetables and fruits are full of more phytonutrients than we can count and work in perfect synergy with our bodies to fight illness and keep us feeling our best. Also, when we add more plants to our diet, they are often taking the place of less desirable foods. Let’s work on eating more of what makes us feel great!
The Eat More Plants Challenge
The purpose of today’s post is the help you plan how you will implement this challenge. It will likely look slightly different for each person. Here are some ideas to help you implement the challenge:
- Plan to eat 1-2 more plant-based (meatless) meals each week than you currently do.
- Keep track of how many vegetables and fruits you are eating and set a goal to reach each day.
- Eat a vegetable with every snack or meal.
- Eat one plant-based (vegan) meal each day.
- Eat totally plant-based (vegan) for the month.
- Eat totally meatless (vegetarian) for the month.
- Cut out one favorite “junk food” you eat often and replace it with a healthier, plant-based option.
Of course, there are countless ways you can implement the Eat More Plants Challenge, but these ideas should get you thinking!
You’re probably wondering how I’m planning to implement the challenge. First, I’m getting my family involved this month. I’m going to help them keep track of how many vegetables and fruit servings they are eating each day and help them set goals to reach or exceed the recommended daily amount. I made this chart to help us:
If you would like to have a free, printable version of this chart, make sure you are signed up for my newsletter. I’ll be sending out the printable version to my subscribers with my weekly newsletter tomorrow (Sunday) night!
Each pear represents a serving of vegetable or fruit, and a serving is equal to 1/2 cup. Serving recommendations, according to the USDA, vary by age and gender. Toddlers should aim for 2 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit a day. Kids aged 4-8 should be getting 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit. Tweens aged 8-13 are recommended to consume 4 servings of vegetables and 3 servings of fruit. Teen girls and women are similar with recommendations for daily vegetables to be 4-5 servings and fruits 3-4 servings. Teen boys and men should aim for 5-6 servings of vegetables a day and 4 servings of fruit. These are just the base recommendations, of course, and I think more is better!
In addition to keeping track of our vegetable and fruit intake, I am also planning on adding more plant-based dinners to our menu. Once upon a time I would cook meat once a week and every other meal was vegetarian or vegan, but lately it seems to be reversed. Now, this is partly because my thinking has changed and I think that animal products can add some value to our diet more than I used to. But I also think by making more plant-based meals my family (and me!) will naturally eat more vegetables, which is always a good thing. So I will focus on that for February.
I’m so excited to get this challenge started! I hope you are planning on joining me!