If your dinner plate is full of bland, beige, and all-around blah food, chances are you're not getting the nutrition you need. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends filling half that plate with fruits and vegetables. Do the same for every meal and you won’t just be adding color, flavor, and texture; you’ll also be getting a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
In general, you should shoot for a daily goal of consuming at least 2 cups of fruit and 2-½ cups of vegetables (ask your doctor what’s right for you). To help you add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, try these 10 tips:
- Use vegetables as a pizza topping. Try options like broccoli, green peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Add spinach, fresh sliced basil, and a pesto swirl to your cheese pizza. Or try a pizza recipe with a crust made from cauliflower or zucchini.
- Make a vegetable lasagna and serve it with a small side salad.
- Get a great start to your morning with a breakfast smoothie made by blending low-fat milk, frozen strawberries, and a banana together, or top your waffles with fresh blueberries and strawberries.
- Don't keep your salads simple. Mix a variety of greens with vegetables and fruit. Pile on the carrots, celery, spinach, kale, tomatoes, peppers, avocado, or cucumbers. Or discover the great addition pears make with this recipe for Roquefort Pear Salad.
- Make a mid-day snack with vegetables such as snap peas, pepper strips, zucchini, broccoli florets, carrot sticks, cucumbers, and celery.
- Enjoy Cucumber and Cream Cheese Appetizers followed by a dinner salad.
- Stuff an egg-white omelet with spinach, mushrooms, and low-fat cheese.
- Pair your favorite greens with white beans and garlic.
- When only a sandwich will do, try a grilled vegetable sandwich or veggie burger, or eat a Caesar salad in a wrap. But if you can’t forego your favorite sub, at least ask them to pile on extra veggies.
- Consider getting guidance and a customized nutritional plan from a registered dietitian nutritionist. For a referral, visit www.eatright.org.
Make It a Habit
No matter which vegetables or fruits you choose, get in the habit of making smarter, healthier food choices! Your body will thank you for it.