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50 Different Ways to Eat Your Veggies and Fruits

 From Arizona Republic

If you're looking for ways to work more fruits and vegetables into your
diet, here are some quick and easy suggestions.

For more recommendations, check out the National Cancer Institute's 5 a Day
Web site, 5aday.gov ; or nutrition.gov , an index to dozens of government
nutrition sites. Also, check out the recipe tips section of the Produce for
Better Health Foundation site, 5aday.org .


1. Keep bags of frozen blueberries on hand to add to cold cereal in the
morning (thaw quickly by placing a handful into a strainer and running
under hot tap water). Keep a variety of dried fruits around to toss into cold
or hot cereal such as oatmeal.

2. Fruit or vegetable juice is a fast way to check off one or more servings of produce.

3. Instead of butter and syrup, top whole-grain pancakes or waffles with
berries, sliced banana or diced mango and a shower of confectioner's sugar.
Or fold them into the batter.

4. Mix cooked asparagus tips, peas or other vegetables into scrambled eggs, or fold into an omelet.

5. Make a fruit slush by putting frozen fruit and vanilla yogurt in a blender.

6. Layer fresh berries, yogurt and granola cereal for a breakfast parfait.

7. Slice a banana in half lengthwise, spread with peanut butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and run under broiler until warmed through.

8. For a nutrient-rich, high-energy breakfast on the run or a fast snack,
make a trail mix of crunchy whole-grain cereal, dried fruits (such as raisins, cranberries, apricots and cherries) and chopped toasted almonds. Divide among small resealable bags.

9. Make a smoothie by blending bananas, a little milk and a few ice cubes
for a creamy base, then adding fruit of choice or a dollop of peanut butter.

10. Fill a cantaloupe or honeydew melon half with cottage cheese.


11. Take a pre-packaged fruit cup, box of raisins or piece of fruit in your

12. Add a 100-percent-juice box to a child's school lunch or snack.

13. For a shortcut fruit salad, buy a container of cut-up mixed fruit at the
supermarket, cafeteria or coffee shop. Have some for lunch, and save the
rest for an afternoon snack.

14. Load up sandwiches with fresh vegetables, from the usual lettuce and
tomato to cucumbers, onions, fresh bell pepper slices or roasted red peppers.

15. Halve grapes for chicken salad, or add mandarin orange sections.

16. Include a thermos of tomato or vegetable soup - canned is fine - with
cheese and crackers for a rib-sticking  meal.

17. Stuff a pita pocket with veggie chunks, alfalfa sprouts and light ranch dressing.

18. Toss pasta or rice with leftover vegetables and low-fat vinaigrette
for a whole-meal salad. For a heartier dish, add tuna, diced chicken and/or
grated Parmesan.

19. Add sliced apples, bananas or grated carrot to a peanut butter sandwich.
Serve on whole-grain bread.

20. Top a low-fat hot dog with sauerkraut or prepared slaw; serve on a whole-grain bun.

Dinner Entrees

21. Scatter sliced tomatoes, bagged spinach, roasted bottled peppers or sliced squash over a frozen cheese pizza.

22. Toss prepackaged or precut vegetables (mushrooms, cauliflower, onions,
tomatoes, etc.) from the produce counter or salad bar into stir-fries or
salads, or sauté and add to jarred spaghetti sauce.

23. Top a plain grilled or broiled chicken breast or fish fillet with a hefty ladleful of prepared salsa.

24. Substitute strands of cooked spaghetti squash for pasta noodles and top
with marinara sauce for a double dose of veggie power.

25. For a quick pasta dish: Cook 16 ounces of pasta for about 5 minutes,
then add a 1-pound bag of frozen vegetable mix. Continue cooking until pasta
and vegetables are done. Drain and toss with olive oil or butter and salt and pepper. Other possible mix-ins: red pepper flakes, sliced fresh basil, Parmesan cheese or lemon pepper (if not using black pepper).

26. Easier yet: Add a package of broccoli to pasta during last 3 minutes of
boiling and top with garlic olive oil.

27. Supplement traditional meat chili with diced eggplant, bell pepper, carrot or canned tomato. Better yet, use ground turkey in place of the meat, or make it vegetarian with cooked legumes such as kidney beans or lentils, or cooked bulgur wheat.

28. Combine leftover vegetables and rice for a quick fried rice.

29. Instead of a hamburger, try brushing a meaty-flavored Portobello
mushroom cap with a little olive oil and grilling or broiling it. Add a
slice of cheese for extra protein; serve as is or on a hamburger bun with
lettuce, tomato, sprouts or other veggies. You'll save fat and calories as well as upping your veggie intake.

30. Thread chunks of bell pepper, onion, squash, eggplant, cherry tomato or
other veggies - alternating, if desired, with chunks of meat or chicken -
for a kebab to broil or grill. For extra flavor, marinate at least an hour
or overnight in your favorite salad dressing or marinade.


31. Roasting caramelizes the natural sugars in vegetables and gives them
deep, rich flavor. Buy prepackaged vegetables like broccoli and
drizzle with a little olive oil and roast at 425 degrees until tender.
works for all sorts of vegetables, including carrots, butternut squash,
tomatoes and onions. Start checking for doneness at 10 minutes; the
the cut-up vegetables, the more quickly they'll be ready. Larger
may take up to 50 minutes.

32. Accompany any entree with broiled seasoned vegetables: Place a rack
very small open squares on a broiler pan or baking sheet. Place bagged
frozen vegetables, a few teaspoons olive oil, salt, pepper and dried
(such as rosemary or thyme) in a plastic bag. Shake to coat the
vegetables with the oil and seasonings. Spread on the broiler rack. Broil 6 minutes
4 inches from the heat source.

33. Make a fast and healthy salad of shredded carrots (buy them bagged for
convenience), raisins, a squeeze of lemon and a little sugar. Make extras for lunch the next day.

34. Add currants, sliced green onions, grated carrot and a dash of curry powder to couscous, and serve with chicken.

35. Top mashed potatoes with sautéed onions or shallots. Or for variety and
extra nutrition, substitute parsnips for all or some of the potatoes.

36. Bagged, pre-washed spinach could not be simpler to prepare: Dump the bag
into a pot with just a few tablespoons water, cover and steam over high heat for about a minute, just until wilted. Season with a little butter or sesame oil if desired, along with salt and pepper.

37. Add orange, grapefruit or pear wedges to an arugula salad.

38. Bagged slaw or broccoli slaw is good not only in salads but for quick sautéing as a side dish, or for mixing into pasta or rice.

39. Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse of fiber and cancer-fighting
beta-carotene. And they're so flavorful, they need no embellishment; simply bake or microwave them. Make an extra, and take it to work for a healthy snack or lunch; they're great reheated in the microwave.

40. Applesauce, cranberry sauce or other fruit sauces or salsas are tasty accompaniments to simple pork dishes.

41. Keep a fruit bowl in full view on the counter for quick snacks or to grab on the way to work.

42. Keep individual bags of baby carrots in easy reach at home, in a school lunchbox or in a desk drawer at work.

43. For dip, make or buy a low-fat bean dip - more veggies - or use low-fat salad dressing or yogurt.

44. Keep a stash of frozen berries in the freezer to top frozen yogurt, sorbet or angel food cake. Frozen cherries are a sweet, icy treat straight from the bag.

45. Don't want to cut up apples? Buy bagged, sliced apples in the supermarket produce section. Use for snacks or to mix with raisins and a little mayonnaise and walnuts for a Waldorf salad.

46. Use canned, mini-dice, seasoned tomatoes to make a quick bruschetta: Slice crusty bread, brush with a little olive oil and top with a spoonful of tomatoes. Place slices on a cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees until bread is slightly toasted and tomatoes are warm.

47. Try these low-fat bean nachos at your next party: Spread baked tortilla
chips with vegetarian refried beans, salsa or canned chopped tomatoes with
chilies and grated Monterey Jack cheese. Add sliced jalapenos and/or chopped
cilantro if you like. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes or until heated through.

48. Make mini peanut butter sandwiches, substituting thinly sliced apples or dried apricots for bread.

49. Top celery sticks with light cream cheese or peanut butter, and top with

50. Pour 100 percent fruit juice into ice cube trays and freeze for mini popsicles.




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