Today kicks off National Fruits and Veggies Month. This year’s celebration is extra special because 2021 happens to be the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, too. No one loves fruits and veggies more than our team of Registered Dietitians, so we asked them for tips on how to enjoy more of these nutrient powerhouses.
- Try to include veggies in your breakfast, whether it’s adding some greens to your smoothie or an omelet, or just having them on the side. My favorite thing while they’re in season is roasted tomatoes with a little balsamic glaze. Starting earlier in the day gives you a head start!
- Always add fruit to my oatmeal (instead of sugar), and this time of year freshly picked blueberries or peaches are a can’t-miss!
- Add a vegetable at breakfast: omelet or muffin-tin frittata.
- Plate eggs on top of a bed of spinach or arugula. Mix veggies into scrambles, omelets, or savory oats.
Put them front and center!
- Aim for one meatless meal per week. Incorporate veggie noodles into traditional pasta dishes. You can also opt for veggies, like zucchini or butternut squash, in place of lasagna noodles.
- Enjoy blended burgers! Add mushrooms and blend with ground turkey or beef.
- Mix in beans or lentils to any ground beef dish. We usually mix half-cup of refried beans into 1 pound of ground taco meat and it helps keep the taco fillings from falling out too!
- Add veggies to meat sauce – either whole or pureed and “hidden”.
- I love to sauté vegetables with olive oil and garlic and then mix them in with pasta. You do not even need sauce!
- Create a veggie “charcuterie” board – I made one this weekend, challenging myself to use only items that I had in my kitchen – no special purchases allowed and a good way to reduce food waste.
- Opt for chopped fruit or raw veggies to pair with your favorite dips.
- Chop a few extra of the veggies you are prepping for a meal and set aside to snack on later in the week.
- Boost your veggie intake by blending them into smoothies. Greens like kale and spinach go really well in smoothies.
- For those who are always on-the-go, I recommend dried fruits and vegetables. They are shelf-stable and easy to travel with. Whether it’s dried cherries in your purse or kale chips in the car, it is the perfect way to sneak fruits and veggies into one’s busy day. Some of my favorites include dehydrated pineapple, banana nubbins, seasoned shiitake mushrooms, and beet chips.
- Make a creamy fruit filled sorbet with bananas, your favorite frozen fruits and a splash of lime.
Color your plate!
- Each color of fruits and vegetables has unique nutrition profiles of antioxidants and compounds that support human health. The same phytonutrients that protect a plant from disease can also protect you from chronic disease including heart disease and possibly some cancers. Therefore, the more colors you eat, the more nutrients and flavors you consume.
- Top your sandwich with as many veggies as possible and try to get every color of the rainbow:
- Red – tomato slice
- Orange – shredded carrot
- Yellow – yellow bell pepper
- Green – arugula
- Purple – red cabbage
Be ready any time!
- Buy already cut crudité, or buy whole cukes, radishes and carrots and cut my own crudité on Sunday, to use as snacks or meal components all week. Pro Tip: keep these in glass/see-through containers front and center so you’re more likely to grab for them… leave the “produce drawers” for breads, condiments, yogurt, cheese, etc.
- Keep frozen fruits and veggies on hand to save time. Frozen veggies work great in stir fry, pasta, omelets, casseroles, soups, smoothies and more! Frozen fruits are perfect for smoothies and making homemade compote, muffins, cobblers and crisps.
Be open to trying new things!
- There are so many different fruits and veggies out there. Who knows, maybe you haven’t tried your favorite yet.
- Make it a weekly goal to try a new fruit or vegetable as a family. Let kids take turns picking out something new at the grocery store.
- Experiment with fruit and vegetable combinations, such as watermelon & tomatoes, citrus & cucumber, jicama & mango.
- Add spices and herbs, lemon, pepper to enhance the flavor of veggies.
- Grow something, anything! My kids are 1000x more willing to eat food while standing in the garden than they would be at the dinner table. Our favorites to snack on in the garden include peas, cherry tomatoes, carrots, green beans, and mint.
Don’t let them go to waste!
- Make a “clear out the crisper drawer” stir-fry with as many veggies as you have in the fridge.
- Don’t throw away tomatoes or peppers that are getting soft & dried or puckered – chop then up and sauté with garlic & onion in olive oil; add any other veggies that need to be used up and serve with pasta, rice or veggie noodles.
Want to know which of our amazing RDNs contributed these tips? Check out @we.eat.live.do.well on Instagram all month as we share these and other fruit and veggie inspirations.