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5 Easy Ways To Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Add fresh veggies or fruit to salads to increase its nutrient content. Broccoli, fresh spinach, sugar snap peas, beans, or corn all make great salad toppings. One of my favorite things to add to mixed greens is fresh fruit. Depending on the season I add mandarins, tangerines, apples, oranges, strawberries, and grapes, and I always include raisins and almonds (although not fresh produce they are yummy and give added crunch to your salad). The sweetness of the fruit offsets the flavor of the vinaigrette and the greens.

Don’t limit your salad vegetables to just lettuce; fresh veggies like broccoli, snap peas, and tomatoes make a great addition to pasta salad.

Make pasta primavera (pasta with fresh vegetables), as an alternative to traditional spaghetti sauces. Any kind of vegetable will work, but most people try to use firm, crisp vegetables like carrots, peas, bell peppers, and broccoli along with tomatoes. Pasta primavera is usually served with aromatic herbs and the sauce is usually made of garlic, parsley and olive oil, finished with Parmesan cheese.

Or, if you want to stick with the traditional spaghetti sauce, add onions, mushrooms or bell peppers to it.

Eat more fruits and vegetables for snacks. Instead of having chips and dip, try fresh cut veggies like celery, carrots, or tomatoes, without dip or with a low-calorie dip or hummus. Peanut butter on celery or apples makes a great afternoon snack because it gives you a little pick-me-up.

Add more vegetables to the things you already make. For example, add veggies, such as corn or green beans to a can of soup. Or, when you prepare dinner meals like casseroles, pasta dishes and soups, double the veggies and reduce the amount of meat.

If you eat dessert all the time, eat fruit instead or as part of dessert. Take advantage of summer fruit. One of my favorite desserts during strawberry season is to top angel food cake with fresh strawberries and strawberry glaze or jelly. If I am really feeling indulgent, I add whipped cream.

Other dessert ideas include freezing chunks of bananas, strawber­ries, or other fruits and mix them in a blend­er with orange juice for a nice cool dessert. You can try different combinations of fruits and juices, and for a different taste, add nonfat yogurt. Another idea is to serve chunks of fruit with vanilla yogurt or low-fat vanilla pudding to make a parfait.

If you need to find out what’s in season to start adding more to your diet, check out Sustainable Table.

And, if you aren’t sure where to find local fresh produce, you can find a local farmers market at the USDA site or Local Harvest .

Related:
5 Marinades for Grilled Vegetables
Strawberry Season

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Eating for Health, Food, Health, Other Holidays, , ,

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.

179 comments

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5:10AM PDT on Apr 7, 2014

I find a good way to add more fruit & vegetables is making curry sauces, stews, and casseroles using vegetable & fruit purees. Here is an example:
You will need:
1 tin of baked beans
6 prunes
6 ts of Oregano
6 ts of ground Flax seed
6 ts of curry powder
6 ts of Hibiscus
2 ts of ground Cloves
6 ts of tomato puree
3 ts of Garlic puree

Put all the ingredients listed so far into the blender & blend them.

Then add to your sauce:
160g diced mushrooms
80g diced chili peppers
80g diced peppers green and red

You need a slow cooker.
Slow cook meal for at least 4 hours, then serve with rice, chips, or salad.

2:05AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

Adding more vegetable to something I am already making, sound the most reasonable.

8:14AM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

Everything that is healthy tastes disgusting...

2:03PM PDT on Jun 18, 2011

I loveee fruits

10:33AM PDT on Jun 14, 2011

yummy vegetables!

9:59PM PDT on Jun 12, 2011

Mmmm,strawberries from the farmers market.Expensive but worth it.Have some in the fridge right now.

9:43AM PDT on Jun 12, 2011

Thanks Judi. This is great reminder for a healthy way of eating.
There are so many ways of using fruits and veggies. As long as we always carefully wash them before eating.

3:49AM PDT on Jun 11, 2011

Thank you!

5:49PM PDT on Jun 10, 2011

thanks...I'll try to try some of these because I definitely need to increase my veggie and fruit intake

8:00AM PDT on Jun 10, 2011

Thanks, always wonder what people eat when they don't eat fruits and vegetables.

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