Fruits and veggies are low in calories, high in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber. Experts suggest that we eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Eating 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis is difficult for many people and studies show the average Iowan eats only 1 – 1.5 servings a day. So most of us need to up our game and consume more fruit and veggies. Now before you say, “But I don’t really like vegetables” or “fruit and vegetables are boring”, or “I can’t get my kids to eat anything green”, check out some ideas below on how to incorporate more into your diet, oftentimes without anyone being the wiser.
Make a frittata over the weekend. Mix eggs with veggies for healthy, hearty breakfast and make extra to make for a quick breakfast during the week.
Mix steamed and pureed or finely grated cauliflower to scrambled eggs.
Add pumpkin puree to pancake or waffle mix. Or blueberries or raspberries.
When a craving for comfort food hits and it calls for mac and cheese, add some tomatoes, peas or broccoli for a new twist and sneaking in a serving of veggies.
Mashed potatoes are also a great comfort food. Try mixing a 1 to 1 mix of sweet potatoes and regular mashed. Sweet potatoes adds extra nutritional value to your mashed potatoes since they are high in fiber and a number of vitamins and minerals.
Shredded zucchini or summer squash can be added to virtually any casserole without changing the taste or texture.
Skip the bread or tortilla and wrap your sandwich in lettuce leaves.
Gourmet grilled cheese are popular right now. Try adding spinach or arugula, tomato, and avocado. At our house we like to add sliced tomato and cooked bacon slices to our grilled cheese or ham and pineapple.
Try adding carrot puree or chopped mushrooms to ground beef recipes from hamburgers to meatloaf.
Basic tomato sauce in a recipe counts as one veggie but try adding pureed carrots or winter squash, peppers, onions or greens to increase that from 1 to 2 or more.
It’s the season where gardens will be producing lots of zucchini so take advantage and make some zucchini bread for a sweet treat. If you are making brownies, make ones with grated zucchini for a moist delicious treat.
A cool, refreshing snack is great on hot summer days. Mix fresh fruit, ice cubes and low-fat yogurt in a blender for fruit-smoothie snack.
Making a fruit and yogurt parfait using a handful of low-fat granola with low-fat yogurt and sliced bananas and/or strawberries is a quick, nutritious, on-the-go breakfast and especially yummy during warm summer months.
Top a piece of whole-grain toast with peanut butter and sliced bananas.