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National Nutrition Month 2011 -- How Can I Add More Fruits / Veggies to my Diet?

Posted Mar 01 2011 11:52pm
It is recommended that we eat anywhere between 5 and 9 servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, however, less than half of our population achieves that.  According to a 2010 Gallup Poll, nationwide, less than half of Americans (46.6%) report eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables on five or more days per week, but 32.7% do so two to four days per week and 19.4% do so one or fewer days per week.

However many servings YOU may be currently eating - my goal is to help you add at least one more serving to your daily routine! Here are 23 suggestions as to how to add some more "color" (fruits / veggies) to your diet.

1.  Add some fruits to your regular garden salad.  Try adding fresh berries, orange or grapefruit sections, or grapes.  Salads are not just for veggies.

2.  Add new kinds of lettuces/greens to your regular garden salad.  Try a new blend.  Skip the iceberg and look at romaine, spinach, butter lettuce, radicchio, argula, mache, or one of the other many varieties!  The deeper the color, the higher nutrient benefits it has.

3.  Add new kinds of lettuces/greens to your sandwich.  Again, skip the iceberg (not high in nutrient value).  Try adding spinach leaves or one of the other varieties listed in #2.

4.  Add fruit slices to your sandwich:  add thinly sliced apple or pears onto your sandwich.  In addition to adding beneficial vitamins, minerals, etc., it will add texture and sweet to your already savory sandwich!

5.  Making mashed potatoes?  Add turnips or parsnips to the mixture.  In addition to adding texture, these veggies add nutrition and flavor!

6.   Eating pizza or making your own?  Top it with broccoli, spinach, peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini...

7.  Use fruit as a marinade and accompaniment with poultry and fish!  Puree berries, apples, peaches, or pears.  Use orange/grapefruit/pineapple juices as marinade.  Garnish the top with pieces of the fruit!

8.  Fruit Smoothie using skim milk or non-fat yogurt -- use frozen fruits and a banana.

9.  Dessert or snack ideas:   Drizzle warm chocolate sauce on a banana.  Smear a little peanut butter on a banana or on apple slices.

10.  Have leftover rice?  Reheat it with chopped apple, walnuts, and cinnamon as a dessert.

11.  Dessert Snack Idea:  Slice a pear, sprinkle with cinnamon and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes

12.  Lunch Idea:  Veggie Wrap or Whole Wheat Pita.  Fill with roasted vegetables and low fat cheese.

13.  Swap mayo on your sandwich for a ripe avocado.  Not only will it taste better - but much better for you.

14.  Try munching on crunch veggies instead of chips -- dip in low fat salad dressing tzatziki, or hummus

15.  Grill colorful veggie kabobs -- tomatoes, green/red peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, onions, pineapple chunks.

16.  Enjoy omelets or egg whites?  Add chopped tomatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms...!

17.  Top your baked potato with broccoli and other veggies with 0% greek yogurt.

18.  Looking for a quick dinner -- try a stir fry!  Cut into small thin pieces peppers, onions, mushrooms, snowpeas, babycorn....use just a little olive oil.  Add the protein of your choice.

19.  Making meatloaf:  Add spinach and other grated vegetables into the mixture (carrots, onions, zucchini).

20.  Add fruits to your morning hot/cold cereal or your yogurt.

21.  Eating soup?  Chop EXTRA veggies and add to your soup.  or....  Make your some chicken/beef/veggie broth - add your favorite veggies chopped to the broth and similar until at your desired texture.  Then add either a pasta, quinoa, or brown rice to the soup. 

22.  Add veggies to your pasta by making your own "primavera":  stewed tomatoes, sauteed zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli rabe....

23.  Add veggies to your lasagna:  spinach, squash, mushrooms -- sneak them into the layers.

I hope that these suggestions have inspired you to try something new -- or at least try one of mine.  As you can see, it is easy to add veggies or fruits to what you are already to eating.

Have a suggestion?   Let's hear it!
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