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There are four key components to maintaining health: get sleep (seven to eight hours), reduce stress, exercise (at least 30 minutes a day), and eat healthy. Most people place a great deal of emphasis on exercise and food intake. Exercise is important, but the food we eat is crucial to our daily health.

When following a food pyramid, there are several categories we must eat: dairy, fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, protein, fat… and don’t forget about water intake. But reaching those recommended servings is easier said than done. Do you struggle with eating proper amounts of healthy foods? It’s very easy to reach for carbs and fatty foods, but this isn’t a good habit.

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Making room in your diet for the recommended two to four servings daily can be a particular challenge, but it’s important. Fruits are a natural sugar that contain lots of anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. If you have trouble working this essential food into your daily meal plans, what will it take to get you to eat fruits every day?

Here are tricks to help sneak more fruit into your daily diet.


1. Taste The Rainbow

Pay attention to the foods and the colors of the food you consume. It is recommended that people eat seven different colors (like a rainbow). Eating multiple colors ensures you are getting a variety of nutrients. Be sure to get out and get your purples (grapes), yellows (bananas), blues (blueberries), oranges (tangerines), whites (star fruit), and finally your greens (peas) and reds (strawberries).


2. Prepare Fruits And Vegetables For The Week

To make healthy choices begins with prepping healthy choices. Go to the grocery store and purchase several days of healthy food. Then, plan one day a week (for a couple hours) to prepare food. Having your food already prepared during the busy week means you won’t have to compensate your health for your schedule. During the week, grab a handful of fruits out of the fridge and enjoy a healthy snack on the go.


3. Enjoy A Smoothie

It’s best to make your own smoothies, but protein shakes work too. Throw in a banana, apple or pineapple for extra flavor. The drink will taste great while all the vitamins and flavors are mixed together.


4. Make (Or Buy) Fruit Chips

Dehydrated fruit is a great way to enjoy fruit. Do you enjoy raisins, banana chips, prunes and apple chips? These are all examples of fruits that have been dried out.


5. Add Fruits To A Salad

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Enjoy a good salad? Load up on all the vegetables of your choice. Then add in apricots, apples, strawberries and/or cranberries for extra flavor. The salad will be so delicious you’ll barely recognize the fruits.


6. Cut Fruit Into Small Pieces And Include In A Food Source

A great solution for hiding food is cutting into extremely thin pieces (or shred it) and adding it into a dish of your choice. Adding these tiny pieces of fruit to a glass of water, dip or yogurt are all ways to hide the flavor of fruit.


7. Eat Fruit With A Tasty Dip

If you’re not a big fan of fruit, figure out what you love to eat and add it to the fruit plate. For example, add peanut butter to a banana or try honey with an apple.


8. Grill Fruit

Grilling fruit gives it a whole new flavor and crispy texture. Try grilling pineapple with chicken. Or pick another fruit. Experiment and have fun.


9. Drink A Glass Of Juice

Juice is normally filled with extra preservatives and sugars. But if this is the only way for you to get fruit in your body, try a natural cranberry or orange juice. Don’t forget, you can always squeeze fresh juice.


10. Play A Game That Reminds You Daily Of The Power And Importance Of Eating Fruit

If you don’t like fruit, then find a reason why you should. Fruits prevent aging. They help the digestive system and metabolism. Fruit stimulates the brain and gives the body energy. Find a reason to eat fruit that motivates you to work it into your daily diet, and focus on achieving the benefits you have highlighted as important for yourself.


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This article was written by Jennifer Straka of Examiner.com for CBS Local.