All right, let's dive right in. The post Fill Half Your Plate with Fruits and Vegetables at Each Meal highlighted the importance of filling your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal, so now we're going to discuss how to do it.
Strategy #1: Follow Those Instructions Precisely
The easiest way to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal is to do exactly that. Mark off half your plate and only fill it with fruits and vegetables at each meal. For breakfast, that could mean a sauté of leafy greens, cubed potatoes and onions alongside your oatmeal or eggs. Then you could add fresh sliced fruit, a bowl of berries, or a wedge of melon to fill the rest of your plate. For lunches and dinners, consider a salad of dark leafy greens and sliced raw veggies. Sliced fruit is also an easy option for times that you want to add more fruit to your plate. Of course, roasted vegetables make great sides too, so chop a few sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and onions and toss them in the oven for a great accompaniment to any meal.
Strategy #2: Snack on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
If dividing your plate in half at each meal is too much of a hassle, or if you know that an upcoming meal won't feature as many fruits and vegetables as may be wise, a great strategy to still get enough of those vital foods involves making fruits and vegetables the star of your snacks. To eat enough fruits and vegetables in a day, replace snacks like potato chips, cookies, and crackers with fruits and vegetables. You could make a vanilla yogurt dip for fruit, or a spicy bean dip for sliced vegetables. You could also snack on salad or a bowl of vegetable soup. Whole fruits like apples and bananas make great on-the-go snacks too!
Strategy #3: Incorporate More Fruits and Vegetables Into the Main Dish
It's easy to make fruits and vegetables the center of attention in your meals as well. Consider trying Meatless Mondays and making vegetarian meals one day per week, or just highlight the joys of fruits and vegetables on your menu. Fill an omelette with sautéed vegetables at breakfast, make a salad with tuna for lunch, and try a hearty vegetable stew for dinner. Or, to take the same approach with fruit, layer fresh berries or sliced fruit with granola and yogurt for a breakfast parfait, try a leafy green salad with some fresh or dried fruit for lunch, and add fresh fruit salsa to a fish dinner. The possibilities are endless.
To make things even easier, here are a few of my favorite fruit and vegetable recipes, available for free!
- Berry Parfait
- Cajun Red Beans and Rice
- Chili-Stuffed Baked Potato
- Classic Split Pea Soup
- Easy Baked Pasta
- Kale is the Star Salad
- Oatmeal with Raisins
- Strawberry Yogurt Cake
- Yogurt Sundae
- Watermelon Banana Split
And here are even more fruit and vegetable resources from the Nutrition Education Store!
And, as one last fruit and vegetable resource for you today, here's a free handout with the highlights of today's post! Enjoy!
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.