Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Tips from Dietitians and Family and Consumer Science Professionals

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  • Vivian Brake, MS, RD, Eat Well and Keep Moving Project,  says that students in the cafeteria seem to eat fruits much better when they are cut up. For instance, orange wedges were more popular than whole oranges.
  • Maryjane Knight, MS, RD, is always adding fruits and vegetables to something. She adds canned fruits to jello, peas and carrots to rice, frozen fruit to lowfat yogurt, salsa to canned beans, fruit juices to iced tea, fruit garnishes to dinner plates, fruit to kebabs, grilled vegetables to grilled meats, frozen spinach to pizzas, shredded veggies to coleslaw, etc...
  • Doris Oniskey is a vegetable houdini: She makes a cream soup by cooking cauliflower with a small amount of water in which it was cooked with, and pureeing it with a packet of soup and seasoning mix. And she makes tomato sauce thicker by pureeing vegetables in it.
  • Arnell Hinkle, MPH, RD, director California Adolescent Nutrition and Fitness Program, offers these office tips: decorates your desk with a bowl of fruit (and eat it!), keeps apples in your car and carry portable, non-messy fruit to meetings, in your briefcase and on planes.
  • Megrette Hammond, M. Ed., RD, private practice, Portsmouth, NH, offers a class called, “When it is too hot to cook!” and says,  “Don’t forget that cold soups, made from fruits or vegetables, are delicious and refreshing.” See her recipe for Turkey Waldorf in this issue.
  • Mary Lavendar Fujii, RD, Nutrition Advisor, University of California Cooperative Extension, buys prepared fresh vegetables in large sizes at a warehouse store so she has to eat them before they spoil!
  • Dr. Carol Friesen, PhD, Assistant Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ball State University, Indiana, has the simple suggestion, “Buy it, you’ll like it!” If it is not in the house and placed somewhere convenient, you’ll leave it on the counter and not in your belly.
  • Johanna Asarian-Andreson, Manager Nutrition Program, County of Los Angeles DHS, has this tip for a family activity: Find a farmer’s market to shop and enjoy the sights. Buy vegetables and fruits that are unique, fresh and ripe for the week.
  • Linda Gossett, MPA, CFCS, Extension Educator EFNEP, University of Idaho has another family activity: children have more interest in eating foods that they have planted, weeded and watered and seen develop while they are learning how to grow a garden.
  • Kari Bachman, New Mexico State University Department of Extension Home Economics, includes veggies and fruits in almost everything they make with their EFNEP/FNP participants including: grating raw fruits and vegetables and putting into breads/pancakes/salads, grating raw veggies and putting into spaghetti sauce/pinto beans/stews, mashed canned or cooked veggies in mashed potatoes, using canned pumpkin with all of the above, serving pudding or jello over fruit.
  • Margo G. Wootan, D.Sc., Senior Scientist, CSPI, still primarily relies on fresh produce but is a big fan of using frozen fruits and vegetables to fill in the gaps between grocery shopping and for those busy nights when you don’t feel like cutting and washing the veggies, etc.
  • Kathryn Rolland, RD, MBA, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, San Jose, CA, relies on putting dried fruit in many foods to increase fruit intake: raisins, cranberries, apricots, bananas and dates can be added to cold cereal, cakes, cookies and puddings for added flavor.
  • Ann M. Coulston, MS, RD, President-elect of American Dietetic Association, General Clinical Research Center at Stanford University Hospital, purchases two cooked vegetables for lunch each day at her cafeteria.
  • Elsa Ramirez Brisson, MPH, RD, Monterey County Area Agency on Aging, takes 5 pieces of fruit to work and makes it her goal to eat them all before 5 PM.
  • Marie Fasano Ruggles, Family Nutrition Network has a double/triple rule: “Double or triple the amount of vegetables called for in a recipe.”
  • Olivia Bennett Wood, MPH, RD, Associate Professor Food & Nutrition, Purdue University, has a couple of good ideas for fruit beverages: Drink juice instead of pop, blend fruit in juice or ginger ale and slush it for summer beverages (not any more time to make than kool-aid or lemonade) and blend berries with lemonade.
  • Judy Price, Food and Nutrition Educator, Cornell Cooperative Extenstion, and Donna L. Scott, Food Safety Extension Group, Cornell University, came up with this ingenious idea together: draw a rough, empty MyPlate each day. As you go through the day, record the number of servings of each type of food in the food group boxes. That helps you to think about what you have consumed overall and reminds you to choose fruit, vegetables or grain items over  other less nutritious choices.
  • Sandra Godwin, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Family & Consumer Sciences, Tennessee State University uses orange juice as the liquid for jello dessert. She also makes fruit sandwiches from sliced pineapple and lettuce instead of lunchmeat.
  • Lindra Drake, MS, Nutritionist and EFNEP Coordinator, Cooperative Extension University of Connecticut, uses the toaster oven and toasts blueberries on her bread. And she uses these berries along with other sliced fruits to replace jam or jelly in peanut butter sandwiches or as the center filling in a layer cake or to mix in with vanilla yogurt instead of buying fruit flavored.
  • Cindy Brison, MS, RD, LMNT, Extension Educator, University of Nebraska Extension in Douglas County, says that baby ready-to-eat carrots are great for a snack and while they cost more than even 2 pounds of regular carrots, they cost less than a snack attack at the vending machine.
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