Fruits and vegetables are packed full of nutrients such as fiber, vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin A. All of these nutrients protect against infection, keep eyes and skin healthy, aid in oral health, wound healing, and may help to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Adults should consume 2.5-3 cups of vegetables per day and 1.5-2 cups of fruits per day. An easy way to achieve this is to make half of the plate at each meal fruits and vegetables. In order to get all the nutrients that these power foods supply people need to vary their veggies and fruits throughout the week.
Easy ways to vary fruit and vegetable intake are to plan what you will eat for the week ahead and make a list before going to the grocery store. Clever ways to eat more fruit are in a spinach and pineapple smoothie, yogurt topped with blueberries and walnuts, strawberry pecan salad, oatmeal topped with fresh fruit, or a banana with peanut butter. Use fruit as a topping or even to aid in marinating meat such as orange slices on pork loin or teriyaki chicken with pineapple. A good way to increase vegetable intake is to try adding vegetables where you normally would not. Add a handful of spinach, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, or mushrooms to scrambled eggs, or add sliced bell peppers to any sandwich. A great way to make sure there is a variety of vegetables consumed is through planning what will be bought at the grocery store and then keeping carrots, snap peas, or broccoli heads cut up and ready to eat in the refrigerator. Make eating vegetables fun by making a colorful veggie pizza, roasting sweet potatoes with onion, sautéing fajitas, or by adding broccoli to the family’s favorite pasta dish. Resource information: ChooseMyPlate.gov.