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How to Add Fruit and Veggies to Your Diet
By Dawn Swidorski, Public Outreach Director
When you stop to take stock on the quantity of fruits and vegetables that you eat every day you may dismayed at how far you have to go to reach a target of 5-9. The average American only eats 2-3 servings. So if you eat more than that you are way ahead of the curve and don’t have to far to go. But even if you are average it’s a lot easier than you think to add those extra servings.
Try Something New
Keep Fresh or Dried Fruit on the Counter
Easy ways to add fruits and vegetables to your breakfast…
• Start the day with a fruit smoothie. A few handfuls of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries added to your smoothie can add loads of antioxidants to your diet. Add a banana and you’ve nailed two servings of fruit and you haven’t even made it out the door!
• A glass of juice
• A handful of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or banana are a great addition to your morning cereal. Dried apricots, raisins, cranberries, currents, dates or figs are also a tasty addition.
• Onions, bell peppers, mushrooms or tomatoes to your eggs whether scrambled or in an omelet.
• Top your eggs with fresh tomato salsa
• A cup of berries added to your favorite pancake or waffle recipe
• Mix a quick fruit salad – pick two or three fresh fruits and mix them together with a small handful of nuts for a high powered start to your day.
• A half a grapefruit
• A serving of fresh melon or cantaloupe
• A banana
Fight off that urge to reach for a muffin, pastry, bag of chips or candy bar instead reach for:
• An apple, orange, pear or banana (they come in their own convenient packaging), or a small bag of grapes, cherries or blueberries
• A handful of dried fruit (cranberries, apricots, dried plums, pineapple, pears, raisins, dates, figs, currents, blueberries) are all great choices
• Carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, Chinese pea pods, green beans, bell peppers – washed and raw
• Cup of yogurt with a handful of fruit
• Celery filled with peanut butter (sprinkle a few raisins on for an added bonus)
• A mixed green salad is an obvious choice – just be careful with the salad dressing since the fat can add unnecessary calories to you diet. One cup of leafy greens counts as a serving
• Fruit salad – just a half a cup counts as a serving
• Add one or more of the following to your sandwich: lettuce, sprouts, tomato, cucumber or avocado – or just go all veggie!
• Have a vegetable based soup – the possibilities are endless: tomato, butternut squash, pumpkin, mushroom, vegetable (hot or cold as gazpacho), potato, onion, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, even carrot
• In the summertime try a cold fruit based soup – there are some great options for watermelon, strawberry, raspberry, nectarine and pear soups – refreshing.
• Have a glass of fruit or vegetable juice instead of soda
• Have a piece of fruit instead of a cookie or brownie for dessert
• For a great addition to tuna salad try carrots, onions, celery and top with fresh lettuce or spinach and avocado.
• For a great addition to chicken salad try one or more of the following: celery, apples, grapes, carrots or dried fruit (your choice) finish with fresh lettuce, spinach and avocado
• Have a baked potato with chives and a little yogurt. Other additions could include broccoli, spinach, or a little salsa
• Serve a salad or vegetable based soup as an appetizer
• Instead of serving one vegetable serve two – think about what colors of the palette you’ve included in your diet that day. If you’ve eaten a lot from the red and blue category add some yellow or orange and something green – sweet potatoes or squash and spinach, beans, or peas.
• Include onions, mushrooms, peas, spinach, summer squash or dried fruit to your whole grain dish.
• Add onions, summer squash, mushrooms, bell pepper, eggplant to spaghetti/tomato sauce and serve over pasta
• Serve a slice of melon, pear or apples between courses or at the end of the meal
Even dessert provides an opportunity to add servings of fruit your diet.
• Gelatin with fruit
• Yogurt with fruit topping
• Crisps, Cobblers, and Pies (if you make them yourself you can control the amount of sugar in the recipe)
• Baked Pears or Apples
• Grilled Pineapple, Peaches, Nectarines
• Fruit topping over a small amount of ice cream or frozen yogurt
• Fresh fruit
• Oatmeal cookies with loads of dried fruit
Read more of Dawn Swidorski's columns.
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