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The American Heart Association recommends eating 8 servings (roughly 4.5 cups) of fruit and vegetables per day. One serving of fruit = 1 medium-size piece of fruit or ½ cup fruit or vegetable juice. 1 serving of vegetables = 1 cup cooked or raw vegetables.
Eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables per day isn’t always easy– especially on-the-go or with kids. But with a few tweaks and a little imagination– eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult — or unappetizing!
- Add strawberries, blueberries, or banana to Greek yogurt (and granola), dry cereal, or oatmeal.
- Top whole-wheat toast with peanut butter or almond butter and sliced banana.
- Spread light cream cheese on a whole-wheat bagel and top with sliced banana.
- Make banana stuffed French toast; mix or top fresh/frozen berries into pancakes, waffles, or muffins.
- Add favorite vegetables to omelets or egg scrambles.
- Make country potatoes using potatoes, onion, bell peppers, garlic, spices, and olive oil.
- Sauté any or all of the above: onions, garlic, zucchini, yellow squash, spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers – and add to marinara sauce for spaghetti.
- Add frozen peas to macaroni & cheese; top frozen pizzas with spinach or mushrooms before baking.
- Add chopped spinach and onion to ground beef or turkey when making hamburgers; top burgers with any or all of the following: sautéed mushrooms, spinach, sprouts, tomato, avocado, onion, and/or lettuce.
- Make baked potato wedges or sweet potato fries.
- Add grilled vegetables (for example: zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers) to sandwiches.
- Use avocado in place of mayonnaise; it’s just as creamy.
- Stir-fry vegetables with lean meat or tofu; serve over brown rice.
- Make a Greek pizza with whole-wheat pita bread, hummus, bell pepper, avocado, cucumber, and feta cheese.
- Top salad with extra veggies like shredded carrots, cucumber, or avocado.
- Chop raw vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, cucumbers, or celery and dip in low-fat dressing or hummus.
- Experiment with smoothies: add any combination of fruit, yogurt, juice, milk, and/or protein powder.
- Mix low-fat cottage cheese with pineapple, strawberries, or peaches.
- Substitute banana or applesauce in place of oil in recipes.
- Top low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt with berries or other fresh fruit.
- Make a fruit crisp with seasonal fruits – just watch out for the recipes with a lot of butter.
- Make banana ice cream; try adding frozen pineapple, mango, or blueberries; for an adult treat, add coconut (or any other) flavored rum or vodka.
I’ve even heard of adding chopped spinach to brownies, but I haven’t been brave enough to try it. What do you do to add more fruits and vegetables to your daily diet?