June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, a great time
to revisit whether or not you're including enough fruits and
vegetables in your family meal planning. In general, building a
healthy plate is easy when you fill half of it with fruits and
vegetables. It's also a great way to add color, flavor and texture
plus vitamins, minerals and fiber. All of this plus the fact that
they are low in calories and fat. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 1⁄2
cups of vegetables your daily goal. Try the following tips to
increase your family's intake of fruits and vegetables every
- Wake up to fruit. Make a habit of adding fruit to morning
oatmeal, ready-to-eat cereal, yogurt or toaster waffle.
- Mix up breakfast smoothies made with low-fat milk, frozen
strawberries and a banana.
- Use your imagination when topping pizza. Try broccoli, spinach,
green peppers, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and zucchini. Or, for a
dessert pizza, add cubed pineapple, sliced kiwi, sliced red plums
and Asian apples and other fresh fruits.
- Make veggie wraps with roasted vegetables and shredded cheese
rolled in a tortilla.
- Try crunchy vegetables instead of chips with your favorite
low-fat salad dressing for dipping.
- Grill colorful vegetable kabobs loaded with cherry tomatoes,
sliced green and red peppers, Portobello mushrooms and sliced
- Make fruit kabobs with pineapple, peaches and banana. Grill on
low heat until fruit is hot and slightly golden.
- Add color to salads with shredded carrots and purple cabbage,
grape tomatoes, spinach leaves and mandarin oranges.
- 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 include: red, green, orange and
yellow peppers, broccoli and cauliflower florets, carrots, celery
and jicama sticks, cucumbers, snap peas, edamame and whole
- Place colorful fruit where everyone can easily grab an
on-the-run snack. Keep a bowl of fresh, ripe whole fruit in the
center of your kitchen or dining table.
- Get saucy with your fruit. Puree peeled apples, berries,
peaches or pears in a blender for a thick, sweet finishing sauce on
grilled or broiled seafood or poultry, or as a topping on pancakes,
French toast, waffles and even yogurt.
- Turn any omelet into a hearty meal. Stuff with chopped
broccoli, mushrooms, squash, carrots, peppers, tomatoes and onions
plus shredded cheese.
- Add pizzazz to sandwiches with sliced pineapple, apple,
peppers, cucumber and tomato, or grilled eggplant or Portobello
- Top baked potatoes with pinto beans and salsa or broccoli
florets and melted cheese.
- Heat up a cup of vegetable soup as a snack, with a sandwich for
lunch or as an appetizer before dinner.
- Add grated or shredded vegetables such as zucchini, mushrooms,
celery and carrots to lasagna, meat loaf, mashed potatoes, pasta
sauce and rice dishes.
- Make fruit your dessert: Slice a banana lengthwise and top with
a scoop of frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, sesame or
pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds.
- Stock your freezer with frozen vegetables to steam or stir-fry
for a quick main or side dish.
- Make your main dish a salad of dark, leafy greens and other
colorful vegetables. Add chickpeas, pinto beans or edamame. Top
with nuts, seeds, grated cheese, salsa or low-fat dressing.
- Dippers: pita wedges in hummus, baked tortilla chips in chunky
salsa, mini carrots in marinara sauce, or strawberries and apple
slices in Greek yogurt. (Coat apple slices with orange juice to
prevent them from browning.)