2021-06-02T12:53:15-06:00July 7th, 2021|

Ask the Experts: It’s easy and tasty to add more healthy fruits and vegetables to your diet

Regional One Health’s clinical nutrition team helps patients make simple dietary changes that can go a long way toward managing disease and improving overall wellbeing.

One of those changes is encouraging patients to eat more fruits and vegetables. They’re offering simple tips for incorporating more of these healthy foods into your daily meals.

Most people know that eating fruits and vegetables is good for you. But what if you’re having a hard time getting the servings and variety you need? Regional One Health’s clinical nutrition team has some suggestions for finding tasty ways to add these healthy foods to your diet.

As the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes, “You should make half your plate fruits and vegetables – it’s 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.”

Here are their tips for fitting in more fruits and vegetables every day:

Add fruits and veggies to the foods you already enjoy

You can sneak in extra servings by tossing fruits and vegetables into standard menu items.

  • Make an omelet a meal by stuffing it with broccoli, squash, carrots, peppers, tomatoes and onions, or any other veggies you have on hand, with low-fat sharp cheddar cheese.
  • Make sandwiches more flavorful by filling them with tomato, cucumber, peppers and even fruits like apple and pineapple.
  • Add cooked and raw veggies to staples like tacos, pasta dishes, soups, stews, curries and casseroles.
  • For breakfast, add fruit to your oatmeal, cereal, yogurt or toaster waffle.
  • Top baked potatoes with salsa or broccoli.

    Keep plenty of fruits and vegetables on hand and add them to foods you already enjoy, like pasta or omelets. It is important to eat a variety of fruits and veggies to make sure you’re getting the vitamins and minerals you need.

Make sure you have fruits and veggies on hand

If it’s convenient to eat fruits and vegetables, you’re more likely to do so.

  • Keep low sodium vegetable soup in your pantry – it’s easy to microwave for a snack or to pair with a sandwich for lunch.
  • Stock your freezer with frozen veggies to steam or stir-fry for a quick side dish. You can also freeze fruits to mix into a smoothie.
  • Shop for in-season whole fruits that you can grab for a quick snack.

Add fruits and vegetables in unexpected ways

  • If you’re having frozen yogurt for dessert, add a sliced banana or another fruit and top it off with a sprinkle of chopped nuts.
  • Fruit makes a great dessert on its own. You can make kabobs with pineapple, peaches and banana and grill them on low heat until they’re hot and slightly golden. It brings out the natural sweetness and flavor.
  • Instead of meat, make veggies the main dish: A salad with leafy greens, colorful veggies, black beans, kidney beans, low-fat cheese and low-fat dressing is a satisfying, healthy meal.
  • For a snack, fruit and vegetables are great paired with dips or as the dip itself. If you’re looking for something savory, dunk whole wheat pita wedges in hummus or baked tortilla chips in salsa. If you want something sweet, try strawberries or apple slices in low-fat yogurt or dunking graham crackers in applesauce.

For more tips, visit www.eatright.org.