It’s a good idea to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet for a variety of health benefits, including weight loss. Whether you’re cooking at home or eating out, try these easy ways to sneak colorful, nutritious, and delicious vegetables and fruits into your snacks and meals (even breakfast).
Which fruits and vegetables are best?
That’s easy: they are all good! If you eat different types of fruits and vegetables, you will surely get all the different types of nutrients that you need. The American Heart Association recommends filling at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables to reach 4 cups per day. The good news is that all produce matters, which means canned, fresh, and frozen varieties can help you reach your goal.
When buying canned, dried, or frozen vegetables and fruits, be sure to compare food labels and choose products with the least amount of sodium and added sugars.
1: Eat watermelon, grapefruit, or any other fruit.
2: Add bananas, raisins, or berries to your breakfast cereal.
3: Drink a small glass (6 ounces) of juice. Make sure it’s 100% fruit or vegetable juice with no added sodium or sugar, not a “fruit drink,” a “cocktail,” or a “punch.”
4: Add the chopped vegetables to the eggs or potatoes. Try onions, celery, green or red bell peppers, or spinach.
1: Have a fruit or vegetable salad with lunch.
2: Put vegetables on your sandwich, such as cucumber, sprouts, tomato, lettuce or avocado.
3: Eat a bowl of vegetable soup. (Compare food labels and choose the product with the lowest amount of sodium you can find in your store, or make soup from scratch.)
4: Have a piece of fruit or raw veggie sticks instead of chips.
1: Keep raw vegetable sticks on hand, such as green or red bell peppers, green beans, celery, or carrots.
2: Carry dried fruits, such as raisins, dates, or dried apricots in your purse or pocket.
3: Eat any type of fresh fruit: grapes, apples, bananas, oranges, kiwis, etc.
4: On hot days, bite into a plate of frozen fruits or vegetables, such as grapes, peas, or bananas.
1: Eat a fruit or vegetable salad with dinner.
2: Add a side dish of steamed or microwaved veggies – frozen veggies are fine!
3: When using the oven to cook your food, put a whole potato, a sweet potato or a yam at the same time.
4: Add chopped vegetables like onions, garlic, and celery when cooking soups, stews, beans, rice, spaghetti sauce, and other sauces.
When making rice, add some frozen peas for the last three minutes of cooking.
Take the Next Step
If you already eat a lot of fruits and vegetables every day, you may be ready for the next step: add more color. All fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that can help prevent heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. Some of these nutrients are fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin A and C. The best way to get all the different nutrients is to eat different colored fruits and vegetables. The five main color groups and examples of each group are listed in the Eat More Color infographic. Consume as many color combinations as possible each day.