Building a healthy plate is easy when you make half your plate fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great way to add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal.
Try the following tips to enjoy more fruits and vegetables every day.
1. Use vegetables as pizza toppings. Try broccoli, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and zucchini to add variety to pizzas.
2. Mix up a breakfast smoothie made with low-fat milk, and frozen fruit – try strawberries and banana, or mango with pineapple or peach.
3. Make a veggie wrap with roasted vegetables and low-fat cheese rolled in a whole-wheat tortilla.
4. Try crunchy vegetables instead of chips with your favorite low-fat salad dressing for dipping.
5. Grill colorful vegetable kabobs packed with tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms, and onions.
6. Add color to salads with baby carrots, grape tomatoes, spinach leaves, or mandarin oranges.
7. Keep cut vegetables handy for mid-afternoon snacks, side dishes, lunch box additions, or a quick nibble while waiting for dinner. Ready-to-eat favorites: red, green, or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas, or whole radishes.
8. Place colorful fruit where everyone can easily grab something for a snack on the run. Keep a bowl of fresh, just ripe whole fruit in the center of your kitchen or dining table.
9. Get saucy with fruit. Puree apples, berries, peaches, or pears in a blender for a thick, sweet sauce on grilled or broiled seafood or poultry, or on pancakes, French toast, or waffles.
10. Stuff an omelet with vegetables. Turn any omelet into a hearty meal with broccoli, squash, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, or onions with low-fat sharp cheddar cheese.
11. “Sandwich” in fruits and vegetables. Add pizzazz to sandwiches with sliced pineapple, apple, peppers, cucumber, and tomato as fillings. Add raw or cooked veggies to tacos on whole-grain corn tortillas and whole wheat wraps.
12. Wake up to fruit. Make a habit of adding fruit to your morning oatmeal, ready-to-eat cereal, yogurt, or toaster waffle.
13. Top a baked potato with beans and salsa or broccoli and low-fat cheese.
14. Microwave a cup of vegetable soup as a snack or with a sandwich for lunch.
15. Add grated, shredded, or chopped vegetables such as zucchini, spinach, eggplant, and carrots to pasta dishes, casseroles, curries, soups, and stews.
16. Make fruit your dessert: Slice a banana lengthwise and top with a scoop of low-fat frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of chopped nuts.
17. Stock your freezer with frozen vegetables to steam or stir-fry for a quick side dish.
18. Make your main dish a salad of dark, leafy greens and other colorful vegetables. Add chickpeas or edamame (fresh soybeans). Top with low-fat dressing.
19. Fruit on the grill: Make kabobs with pineapple, peaches, and banana. Grill on low heat until fruit is hot and slightly golden.
20. Dip: Whole wheat pita wedges in hummus, baked tortilla chips in salsa, strawberries or apple slices in low-fat yogurt, or graham crackers in applesauce.
For more information on nutrition and dietitian services, visit vailhealth.org/nutrition. To schedule an appointment call (970) 479-5058.
Authored by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics staff registered dietitian nutritionists. Learn more about National Nutrition Month.