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Fruits & Veggies - More Matters

Eat Fruits and veggiesEvery step taken towards eating more fruits and veggies helps you and your family be at their best. Because eating fruits and vegetables matters in maintaining a healthy weight and may even reduce your family's risk of many diseases, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating more fruits and vegetables than any other food group.

It's all about TASTE - use these tips to include more fruits and veggies in your every day meals.

T. – Try something new at every eating occasion.

  • Explore new recipes that include fruits and veggies, or get creative with your own.  Add shredded carrots to your casseroles, chili, lasagna, meatloaf or soup.  Drop berries into hot or iced tea, hot or cold cereal, pancakes or yogurt.  (You get the idea!)
  • Be imaginative at breakfast by making fruit smoothies, egg & veggie burritos and yogurt/fruit mixtures, or simply putting a new fruit on top of your favorite cereal. 
  • Use leftover veggies for tomorrow's salad, or add them to a favorite can of soup.  Yesterday's fruit can be mixed into a zesty salad dressing, sauce or fruit salsa to accompany meat. 
  • Keep a variety of bite-sized munchies on hand for on-the-go snacks, such as boxes of raisins, fresh grapes or berries, dried fruit trail mix and frozen 100% fruit bars.  Cherry tomatoes and carrot sticks with hummus can be a tasty and refreshing veggie treat. 

A. – All forms of fruits and veggies count!

  • In your menu, feature each of the Fab Five Forms – fresh, frozen, 100% juice, canned and dried – which are all packed with nutrients for better health and energy. 
  • Color your family's plate, as a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and other natural substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases including stroke, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
  • Choose recipes that teach you different – yet simple – ways to cook all fruits and veggies and spice up every eating occasion, including steamed, slow-cooked, sautéed, stir fried, grilled, poached and even in the microwave. 

S. – Shop smart.

  • If you find that fruits and veggies spoil before you can use them up, consider buying fresh produce to use in three or four days.  Clean and cut up the produce, so it will be ready to use, and start by eating the most perishable items first.  Buy canned, frozen, and dried for later in the week or if time is limited.  They are fast and can be just as nutritious!
  • Store produce in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator (except bananas, tomatoes and potatoes) to stay fresh longer.
  • When shopping on a budget, consider that fresh produce is more affordable when it is in-season.  Also, look for weekly specials on fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits and veggies. 
  • At a restaurant, always ask what vegetables, including salads, are available as substitutes for high-fat side orders.

T. – Turn it into a family activity.

  • Have a shish-kabob or homemade pizza night, where the kids get to skewer or sprinkle their own healthy choices. 
  • Choose your family's favorite fruit to make a quick and easy homemade sorbet with the kids. 
  • If there is a farmer's market nearby, check it out!  It will be a fun trip for the kids, and the produce should be very fresh and economical. 

E. – Explore the bountiful variety (and satisfy everyone)!

  • For some families, it can be tough to find fruits and veggies that suit everyone's tastes.  Use salad bars, buffets, or family gatherings to try new flavors until you find the foods that your whole family likes and then prepare them at home.  There are more than 350 varieties of fruits and veggies to choose from. (State of the Plate, 2005.)
  • Visit www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org for great serving suggestions, tips and information on all your favorites, plus inspiring ideas for fruits and veggies you've always wanted to try, but never knew how to make!
  • Challenge your children on each shopping trip by asking them to pick out a new fruit or veggie the whole family gets to eat! 

Fit City Challenge

Fit City ChallengeNeed motivation and tips to eat better and move more? Visit Fit City Challenge for tips to help you meet goals of eating 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day and walking 5 miles per week.



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