5 ways to eat your way to happiness

Everything you do in life, you do for one reason: to be happy. You get married. You get divorced. You buy a new car. You have kids. You go on vacation. You buy a new wardrobe. All so you can be happy.

But what if I told you that the key to happiness is somewhere you never thought to look — on your plate.

A recent study from the University of Warwick in England and the University of Queensland in Australia found that eating more fruits and vegetables increases your overall well-being and satisfaction with life.

This means the elusive happiness you’ve been searching for all these years could be as close as your local farmer’s market or the produce section of your grocery store… or even in your own backyard if you’re the gardening type.

After studying the dietary habits of 12,000 randomly selected people, researchers discovered that people who went from eating little to no vegetables and fruits to eating eight servings per day were substantially happier within 24 months of making the change.

They also said that the increase in happiness was similar to what they’ve seen in someone who’s been out of work for a long time and finally finds a job. In other words, these extra servings of fruit and vegetables were making these people feel pretty darn good.

What’s even more interesting is that the psychological benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables went up a little more with each serving. So, those who ate the most fruit and veggies were loving life by the time the two year study was over.

Now I know it’s not always easy to get eight servings of fruit and vegetables per day. So here are few ways to add more fruit, veggies and happiness to your life:

  1. Eat a fruit-focused breakfast… like a fruit smoothie or yogurt with berries.
  2. Eat a meal-quality salad at least once a day. Whether it’s for dinner or lunch, a big salad will help you fit a lot more veggies into your day.
  3. Prep fruit and veggies ahead of time. If you cut and wash fruit and veggies and keep them in Tupperware containers in your fridge, you’ll find yourself eating them a lot more frequently. Because, as you know, convenience is key!
  4. Switch up your snacks. Replace potato chips or tortilla chips with fresh-baked kale chips. Or tap into your supply of prepped fruits and veggies when you’re hankering for a snack.
  5. Add fruits and veggies to literally everything you make. No matter what you’re cooking, you can find a way to add fruit or veggies to it. Making an omelet? Add your favorite veggies. Pancakes? Add blueberries. Pasta? Make it a pasta primavera.

These simple tricks will help you enjoy more fruits and veggies than you ever thought possible. And eventually you’ll be a healthier, happier person for it… which is all any of us really wants in life anyway.

  1. “Fruit and veg give you the feel-good factor.” The University of Warwick. http://www2.warwick.ac.uk. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.