How to Eat Enough Fruits and Veggies

Busy Mom’s Survival Guide Podcast Episode 003.
In order to be the best wife and mother you can be, you need to take care of yourself.  That means getting enough sleep, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating right.  Most of us fall short on most of those things not because we don’t think that they’re important, but because we have too much going on to do them!

Greyden eats parsley from the garden.

Eating enough fruits and vegetables is just one piece of the puzzle, but it’s a vital piece.  In this podcast episode, I’ll share what and how I eat to make sure I’m getting my needed vegetables.  I’ll also talk a little bit about getting those vegetables in your children. It may not be easy, but getting enough colorful fruits and vegetables is a necessary way to keep you healthy and full of energy so you can get it all done!

I’d love to know what you thought of this episode and if you have any great fruit or veggie recipes you’d like to share.

You can comment on the blog post below or leave a message on The Busy Mom’s Survival Guide feedback line at 240-230-SOAP.

Thanks for listening! Tune in next week when I talk about the importance of drinking water!


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  • Denise Donaldson

    This was a great pod cast. I absolutely love fresh fruits and veggies. We have our veggie garden just about planted. I cant wait until we have lots of tomatoes and cucumbers. We also have a peach tree out back too! YUM!

    • Thanks, Denise! I don’t know what I’d do without my veggie garden. My asparagus is coming up and I’m in heaven!!


  • Betsy Braitliing

    P J<

    Although I am a senior, I really enjoy your podcasts!

    • Thanks, Betsy,

      I hope that a lot of what I talk about applies to all women out there, and it’s good to know that you’re enjoying it. That really encourages me! 🙂


  • Jonie McCormick

    Another great podcast, PJ! 🙂 I always look forward to them. I plan on getting a notebook, going back over the past few, and jotting down notes for future reference. Your info is so very helpful!

    I do love my fruits and vegetables! I am still not very good in incorporating more healthy dressings for salads yet, so I was glad to hear you say that eating the fruits/veggies is stil okay even if you have to use sauces, dips, dressings, etc. I love broccoli, and like it w/ cheese on top of a baked potato. lol I like brussel sprouts (covered in a bit of French salad dressing…Catalina or Creamy French). I do like veggies raw, as well (esp. cauliflower & broccoli). I love salads with veggies, and salads w/ fruits. I enjoy almonds on top of fruit salads (well, fruit on greens), with berry vinaigrette or poppyseed dressings. Also, I would love to get into making smoothies.

    I have a few questions this time. First, concerning vegetables…for those who don’t have much room to garden and don’t can anything, what’s your take on store bought canned veggies vs. frozen veggies? And secondly, do you have any good recommendations for a certain brand / type blender or smoothie maker?

    Thanks so much, PJ. Preventive health care is so important (health care is surely not affordable, anyway!), and your tips are such a godsend. Thanks for sharing all your research w/ us! ( BTW, thanks for wishing my husband Kelly a Happy B-Day on your last podcast comments! He appreciated it! He turned 42, so you were still younger than him. lol) Here, we’ve spent the past week/weekend sick with colds. We’re still working on implementing good sleep habits! How nice of Jim to buy you a new mattress, and I’m glad you had a great b-day! 🙂

    Well, PJ hope you feel better from the flu-like symptoms! Please tell Hewitt & Indi they were adorable, and have great taste in fruits, veggies! 🙂 Thanks again for all your helpful info!

    • Thanks, Jonie – I feel very honored that you think what I have to say is notebook worthy! 😉

      I think it’s ok to do whatever it takes to eat your veggies and definitely not to stress about it! I wish I liked brussel sprouts, I’ve tried them several different ways, but just can’t do it yet. Beets are something else that I just can’t seem to make myself like.

      Definitely stick to frozen veggies over canned. Canned are horrid for you!

      I have the KTec blender – it’s cheaper than the Vita Mix, and just as good. I’m on my second one – had the first one for over 7 years. I liked it so much I got the same one.

      I’m sorry you had to deal with colds – not good. Boosting your immune system with good sleep will definitely help! I’m feeling much better, thanks!

      I’ll share your thoughts with Indi and Hewitt – they love to hear when people think of them. LOL


      • Jonie McCormick

        Thanks, PJ! 🙂 I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions!

  • Sadie

    My kids have just picked out seed to get our garden started this spring. They can’t wait to see their veggies growing.

    • I’m so glad!! It’s so much fun growing things and getting to eat them!


  • Carina Casillas

    I just finished listening to the fruits & veggies pod cast (&!!!) the sleeping podcast.
    I really really have got to sleep earlier!

    Thank you for that. Now I know that we need to get more sleep, at the right hours.

    Btw happy be-lated birthday PJ 🙂

    • Hi Carina – I think most of us need to get to sleep earlier. And even knowing it, it’s still a struggle, but I just keep reminding myself how important it is!!

      Thanks for the birthday wishes!

  • Lisa

    Hi PJ, Hewitt, and Indigo! Enjoyed this episode, as well. I needed the reminder concerning veggies! Funny thing, I love them, but I still don’t get enough. Gonna try to work on this, especially since I’m not getting any younger…. i’ve got 12 yrs on you P.J.! Happy Birthday, by the way. Thanks for sharing. You all have a blessed day!

    • Hi Lisa,

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! The good news is that you’re a step ahead of the game since you enjoy them. A lot of people can’t even say that! Thanks for the birthday wishes!!


  • Ammie Barbee

    My 7 year old’s favorite meal is cobb salad. He actually dances around when we have it. He is a salad boy, for sure! My 5 year old says, “thank you for the salad” like her brother but doesn’t really like it as much, haha. She just looks at it and picks at it. No complaints from me though since she loves all of the other veggies and loves when we have broccoli, unlike her brother.

    We are big smoothie fans here! I am making one tonight as a matter of fact.

    Besides salad and broccoli, a favorite veggie meal here is baked zucchini. I just slice zucchini lengthwise into thin slices, lay on a baking sheet, and spray with a little bit of olive oil. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over top (as much as preferred- we sprinkle heavily). Then bake at 400 for 10 min and broil for 5 min. This is a favorite for everyone here. My mother-in-law made introduced me to this years ago!!!

    Happy birthday (by the way). I turn the big 4-0 in just 3 months and plan to go to Hawaii for my birthday…one day! 😉

    • Hi Ammie – that’s awesome about your son. Good for him! And her since she loves broccoli!

      That’s funny, that’s very similar to how I cook our zucchini. Except I cut it into bite size pieces and saute it. I’ll have to try it in the oven. But I’m not sure I could eat zucchini without parmesan. LOL

      See – that’s what I’m talking about – Hawaii/Italy, if we keep saying it, eventually we will actually get there!!


  • Kristen

    Hi PJ…I’m not a busy mom, but I’ve been loving the podcast! One of my favorite veggie recipes comes from my time in Armenia. There’s no real recipe with measurements, but here’s the gist of it.

    2 Bags frozen Italian Green Beans (or fresh if you can find them)
    2 Cans diced tomatoes
    1 onion sauteed in a little butter
    1 bunch of dill (use more herbs than you think…Armenians LOVE fresh herbs)
    1 bunch of cilantro
    1/2 bunch of basil
    Salt and Pepper

    I like to boil the beans first because I like them soft, but if you like them more al dente, you could skip that.

    Saute the onion then add your tomatoes and beans. Salt and pepper to taste. Chop the herbs finely and add about 1/2 in to the pot. Let it simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the beans are cooked as much as you like. Then right before you are ready to stop cooking them add in the rest of the fresh herbs.

    Delish! And it’s even better the next day.

    Hope you guys enjoy!
    Kristen in Nashville, TN

    • Hi Kristen,

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying it!! And thanks for the recipe – I love anything with dill and beans. We can ours that way and they’re so good!!


  • I try to keep small bags of trimmed veggies (baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, radishes, etc…) ready in the ‘fridge to snack on at a moment’s notice, along with my favorite homemade ranch dressing (Pioneer Woman’s recipe). My now grown daughters were usually keen on raw if it had ranch alongside.

    I keep a large container of salad (spring) greens and try to have at least 5-7 servings of veggies just for lunch alone in a large salad, with a spoonful of feta cheese and a splash of vinaigrette.
    Frequently if we had meat, we’d cook, slice, and serve it on top of a huge dinner salad – again, the girls were pretty good about eating raw veggies served that way. I made a practice of serving lightly steamed veggies with most dinners, starting when they were little and requiring that they had at least one serving. I keep fresh fruit available and used to have pineapple as desert instead of sweet stuff.

    Other ways I got my children to eat more vegetables were to use shredded carrots, apples, or zucchini in muffins, quick breads, pancakes, cookies, and meatloaf (snuck spinach into that as well). Sprouted, cooked beans can also be snuck into an amazing variety of baked goods to increase the fiber content. Stir-fries were another way to get my daughters to eat a large variety of veggies – lots of vegetables were also a great way to stretch small amounts of meat. I use copious amounts of fresh garlic and onions (and often celery or peppers) in almost any savory cooked dish, often halving the amount of meat and doubling or tripling the veggies (sloppy joes, chili, etc..). Pureed veggies taste excellent in homemade noodles – my daughters used to sneak (eggless) homemade noodles off the drying rack when they were little!

    My brother-in-law also introduced us to my husband’s favorite meatless meal – a Mediterranean pressed sandwich – The girls LOVED this, too.

    • Oh, I also made a game of allowing the girls to pick out and try novel and exotic fruits and vegetables when they were younger. We ate jicama, rutabaga, ugli fruit, star apples, jackfruit, mango, cooking & Thai bananas, mirlitons, pomegranate, purple mashed potatoes, blood oranges – if it was new or different, we’d give it a try.

      One last way we encouraged the girls to eat plenty of vegetables was to make sure that on the occasions when we’d go out to dinner (not often, so it was definitely a treat) we made sure to try different ethnic restaurants in the area – ethic restaurants frequently serve dishes made from scratch with plenty of vegetables, plus it helps develop children’s tastebuds and I believe it helps them to be more adventurous about food and less picky if you start when they are young.

      • I love it all! You captured it perfectly – the whole concept of kids who won’t eat their vegetables usually comes from the fact that mom and dad won’t eat theirs. LOL When fruits and veggies are a natural part of every day food life, they get eaten all the time.

        And yes, starting children early is the key!!

        I’ll take a look at that recipe and give a try. Thanks for the link!


  • Sara

    Thabks PJ- I would love to hear more about your gardening- I just started gardening over the last few summer- I have a small garden but am looking to make it larger. I also live in indiana and would love to know more about how to store the produce. I have only canned and frozen a few thins and never tried dehydrating before. Thanks!

    • Hi Sara,

      I plan to have an episode for both gardening and putting up produce. Dehydrating is awesome when space is an issue, because it shrinks the food down tremendously. I dehydrate the food, put it in canning jars and vacuum seal the canning jars.

      My advice with gardening is not to make it too big. That is the biggest mistake most people make, because it gets away from you and you actually get less food than you would with a smaller garden that you take care of. So if you grow, grow a little bit at a time. 🙂


  • Beverly

    Great podcast! Lots of informative information! I will admit to loving fruits more than veggies…unfortunately. I’ve been making “Green Monsters” for breakfast most mornings…if you’re familiar with them…basically a smoothie but you add in a couple handfuls of spinach…you can’t even taste the spinach! I recently became familiar with Amazing Grass (the chocolate flavor) but wasn’t aware of the Amazon program so thank you for that pointer!

    • Hi Beverly,

      Yes, spinach is amazing because you can add it to almost anything and never know that it’s there. I love it! But definitely don’t try it with kale – that does not work like spinach. LOL

      Glad the Amazon tip helped!

  • Christy Ward

    My daughter and I listened to your podcast in the car the other day. When we got home, she told me she wanted to eat a salad for lunch! She made it herself and loved it! Thanks for your wonderful influence!

    • I’m so glad!! That absolutely made my day to hear that. 🙂


  • Melissa


    Thanks for another brilliant podcast full of great information!

    • You’re welcome, Melissa. Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂


  • Amanda

    I love how you broke down fruit and veggies by color and nutrients. That was really informative.

    A great broadcast.

    Question for the water podcast: how do you know if you are drinking enough?


    • Thanks, Amanda! I’ll definitely include your question in the next podcast, because I think a lot of people wonder the same thing.


  • Destiny

    I enjoy your mom survival guide. its very helpful as the mom of two young children.


    • Thanks, Destiny! I’m so glad!!


  • Haleigh adams

    I meant to leave a comment last week when I listened to it, but forgot after I fed malachi. its so funny, because the day before our family started eating more veggies. We letup saying were going to do it more then something seems to come up in one way or another.thanks for reminding me how much we do need to eat like that more ode

    • Hey Haleigh,

      That’s awesome that you’re doing that – most of us know that we should, but just never seem to get around to making as much as we should. Say hi to Bradley for me!


  • Nicole

    Great information again this week! Ive never thought about the colors Being varied! I think I’ll be trying to get things from each color as well as aim for more fruits and veggies! Thanks!

    • Hi Nicole,

      I’m glad you learned something new! 🙂


  • Ivy

    With our kids the rule is that they need to try a bite of everything at meals. Now that they at getting older, they aren’t so hesitant about trying new foods, including vegetables. I also try to get them involved in picking out fruits and veggies at the store so that they are more excited about eating them. The youngest LOVES salads now.

    • Good job, Ivy! When you get them eating the right foods when they’re young, you set them up for a much healthier lifestyle when they’re older!


  • Pat Somers

    I can’t believe that you have the time to do everything that you do. You are amazing. All the podcasts so far have been great. I am a senior and I haven’t learned so much in a long time. Thanks!

    • Thanks, Pat! That’s such a great thing to say (about learning so much)! It makes my day! One of the things I wish I spent more time doing is… doing nothing. LOL I’m not very good at relaxing, but I figure I’ll have lots of time for relaxing once the kids are grown. At least that is what I keep telling myself. 🙂


  • I wish my hubby liked vegetables.

    I turned 40 this year too. : )

    • Happy Birthday to you too!

      Hubbies who don’t like vegetables make it so difficult. I’m pretty fortunate that Jim will eat them even though he doesn’t like them. But it makes it really hard because I like to make stuff that he really enjoys. So I feel your pain!


  • Sylvia

    We eat smoothies for breakfast and salads for lunch also. Dinner may be meat or fish with roasted vegetables and a salad or it may be just vegetables or a soup, etc. (Have you tried roasted fresh brussel sprouts? Most of the brussel sprouts you buy in the store are bitter, but fresh are sweet and roasted are the best. Same goes for beets – roasted root vegetables are wonderful.)

    • Sylvia – I haven’t tried them fresh. I did grow them one year, but it got too hot before they were mature and they bolted. Our farmer’s market doesn’t have them, either. Maybe I’ll try again. I have tried fresh beets, all sorts of ways. I can put a piece of one in my smoothie, but I haven’t found a way that I enjoy just eating them. I honestly don’t think I’ve just roasted them though, I’ll try it that way.

      Right now I’m eating asparagus 3 times a day. LOL


  • Teresa

    I really enjoyed your podcast……you are AMAZING and such an inspiration . ….. A lot of your tips and advice were what I needed to hear because we really need to take care of ourselves in order to take care of our family.
    I have found the best way to get in the maximum amount of fruits and veggies is to either to make a smoothie or use my juicer. My two little girls love choosing different ingredients daily and it sure has become a daily thing for us. Frozen cherries, blueberries and mango are a favourite and apples, pears and bananas are too ! We incorporate salads every day and changing the ingredients around make it fun and healthy too !—I really enjoyed listening to all the important details that will benefit all of us from your podcast— Thank you PJ and I am loving your bar soap, lotion stick and laundry detergent that I purchased a few weeks ago too !!!!

    • Hi Teresa,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write that. You put a huge smile on my face, and I’m so glad that my message is being understood. It breaks my heart to see moms that are run down, exhausted, and overwhelmed and not enjoying this special (and too brief) time in their lives!

      Good for you with getting in all those fruits and veggies – you’re setting your girls up for a much easier life since you’re doing it with them when they’re young. I LOVE it!!!


  • Lori Byrd

    I think this was a very cool thing you are doing with these podcasts. I really don’t know where you find the time. I turned 50 this year and decided that I need to get healthy if I want to have a great quality of life. I joined weight watchers and eat lots of fruit and vegetables. I have lost 80 pounds so far and I feel wonderful. The key is fruit and vegetables. They are free food for me on the point count. Keep up the inspiring words. I think you’re family is terrific. God Bless.

  • Byronious

    Hi PJ, in case you didnt know – your artwork is not showing up when your podcast plays. I’m sure Cliff can help you with this. Great show, love what your doing. @akaByroniuous in the @GSPN Comiunity.

  • Lila

    I just want to tell you I love your podcasts and after listening to this one I ate my banana in my lunch bag and broccoli that evening and a salad the next day! You are very inspiring and your kids seem so positive. And they obviously admire you! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Hi Lila! Good for you. 🙂 That’s so great to hear. And thanks for the kind words. You really made my day! PJ