Vegetables and fruits are clearly an important part of a good diet. Almost everyone can benefit from eating more of them, but variety is as important as quantity. No single fruit or vegetable provides all of the nutrients you need to be healthy. The key lies in the variety of different vegetables and fruits that you eat. The recommended amount is 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies each day - this may sound like a daunting task but it's easier than you think. Try these tips to fit more fruits and vegetables into your day :
- Keep fruit out where you can see it. That way you'll be more likely to eat it. Keep it out on the counter or in the front of the fridge.
- Get some every meal, every day. Try filling half your plate with vegetables or fruit at each meal. Serving up salads, stir fry, or other fruit and vegetable‐rich fare makes it easier to reach this goal. Bonus points if you can get some fruits and vegetables at snack time, too.
- Explore the produce aisle and choose something new. Variety is the key to a healthy diet. Get out of a rut and try some new fruits and vegetables—include dark green leafy vegetables; yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables; cooked tomatoes; and citrus fruits.
- Bag the potatoes. Choose other vegetables that are packed with more nutrients and more slowly digested carbs.
- Make it a meal. Try some new recipes where vegetables take center stage, such as:
- Portabello mushroom burger
- Vegetable curry over brown basmati rice
- Baked sweet potato topped with broccoli and a shake of Parmesan cheese
- Mixed vegetable salad with beans
How to make your meals last using fruits & vegetables
Cabbage: Use half of a head to make coleslaw. Use the other half in to make cabbage rolls.
Carrots: Cut half the carrots in the bag to use as carrot sticks for snacks. Use the other half in a stir-fry and/or to grate over salads.
Sweet potatoes: One pound will provide about 4 servings. Try some baked sweet potato fries for a delicious change of pace.
Broccoli: One pound of fresh broccoli will provide about 5 servings of cooked spears. Use the stalks in a vegetable soup or shred and add to salads or slaw.
Cauliflower: A medium head may provide about 9-10 servings of cooked cauliflower. Use half of the head to make mashed cauliflower. Use the other half in soup.
Beans: Include legumes such as black beans, kidney beans, etc. in at least 1 or 2 meals per week.
Apples: Great as a grab and go snack. Add a nut butter for protein and variety. Make baked apples for dessert—core and fill with dried fruit and chopped nuts.
Oranges: Great to take along as a snack. Add some orange slices to a spinach salad.
Grapefruit: Share one with someone. Serve grapefruit sections with a dollop of your favorite sherbet for dessert.
Bananas: The classic grab and go snack. Add a sliced banana to cereal or canned fruit cocktail.
Watermelon: A watermelon goes a long way. De-seed and blend it alone for a refreshing drink!
Grapes: Stretch chicken salad by adding grapes. Freeze grapes for a different sweet treat.