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Fruits and Vegetables

vegetablesFruits and vegetables play a significant role in human nutrition.  Fruits and vegetables supply a vast number of vitamins and minerals along with the benefit of fiber.  They also can play a role in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.  The “My Plate” recommends that half of our plate should consist of fruits and vegetables when consuming each meal.  It is also suggested that we look for a variety of colors in the fruits and vegetables that we consume.

                It is recommended that we consume about 2 ½ cups of vegetables a day.  It is suggested that we eat more red, orange, and dark-green vegetables.  Sometimes, it may be difficult to incorporate vegetables into our diets.  Here are some suggestions on ways to enjoy more vegetables:

  1. Add grated, shredded or chopped vegetables to casseroles, lasagna, or meatloaf
  2. Get creative with pizza and order a deluxe with vegetable toppings
  3. Try tomato juice as a snack beverage
  4. Make breads and other baked goods with shredded vegetables (like zucchini or carrots)
  5. Eat vegetables on sandwiches
  6. Stuff an omelet with vegetables
  7. Toss up a vegetable salad
  8. When you eat out, order more veggies
  9. Make dips and spreads with vegetables
  10. Stock your fridge with raw vegetables that are cleaned and ready to eat

          It is also recommended that we eat about 2 cups of fruit a day.  As with vegetables, we should focus on a variety of colors when choosing fruits.  Buy fruits that are dried, frozen, and canned (in water or 100% fruit juice), as well as fresh fruits.  Select 100% fruit juice when choosing juices, but remember that we only need 1 serving (1/2 cup) of juice per day.  All of our other fruit servings should come from fresh, frozen, or canned fruits. 

         Overall, it is important that we try to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in our diets.  Fruits and vegetables provide the unrivaled combination of great taste, nutrition, and abundant variety.  Remember that consuming fruits and vegetables can be a factor in maintaining a healthy weight and may help reduce the risk of some types of diseases.  For more information visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov