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How to Sneak More Fruits and Vegetables into Your Family’s Diet

How to Sneak More Fruits and Vegetables into Your Family’s Diet

How to get your family to eat more fruits and vegetables

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 day:

  • 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 onions.
  • 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 radishes.
  • 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 mushroom.
  • 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.)

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