Different Ways to Eat Your Veggies and Fruits
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
nutrition sites. Also, check out the recipe tips section of the
Better Health Foundation site, 5aday.org .
1. Keep bags of frozen blueberries on hand to add to cold cereal
morning (thaw quickly by placing a handful into a strainer and
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
berries, sliced banana or diced mango and a shower of
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
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
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
for a creamy base, then adding fruit of choice or a dollop of
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
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
rest for an afternoon snack.
14. Load up sandwiches with fresh vegetables, from the usual
tomato to cucumbers, onions, fresh bell pepper slices or roasted
15. Halve grapes for chicken salad, or add mandarin orange
16. Include a thermos of tomato or vegetable soup - canned is fine
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
for a whole-meal salad. For a heartier dish, add tuna, diced
19. Add sliced apples, bananas or grated carrot to a peanut butter
Serve on whole-grain bread.
20. Top a low-fat hot dog with sauerkraut or prepared slaw; serve
on a whole-grain bun.
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,
tomatoes, etc.) from the produce counter or salad bar into
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
then add a 1-pound bag of frozen vegetable mix. Continue cooking
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
26. Easier yet: Add a package of broccoli to pasta during last 3
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
mushroom cap with a little olive oil and grilling or broiling it.
slice of cheese for extra protein; serve as is or on a hamburger
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
other veggies - alternating, if desired, with chunks of meat or
for a kebab to broil or grill. For extra flavor, marinate at least
or overnight in your favorite salad dressing or marinade.
31. Roasting caramelizes the natural sugars in vegetables and
deep, rich flavor. Buy prepackaged vegetables like broccoli and
drizzle with a little olive oil and roast at 425 degrees until
works for all sorts of vegetables, including carrots, butternut
tomatoes and onions. Start checking for doneness at 10 minutes;
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
very small open squares on a broiler pan or baking sheet. Place
frozen vegetables, a few teaspoons olive oil, salt, pepper and
(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
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
extra nutrition, substitute parsnips for all or some of the
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
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
39. Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse of fiber and
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
chips with vegetarian refried beans, salsa or canned chopped
chilies and grated Monterey Jack cheese. Add sliced jalapenos
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.