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40 Easy Ways to Love Your Fruit and Vegetables
You know that fruits and vegetables are good for you - but getting those recommended two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables each day isn't always easy.
If you're the type who rarely eats fruit and goes out of your way to avoid greens, the tips in this article should help change that.
Read on for some yummy and creative ways to increase your fruit and vegetable intake, boost your health, and cut calories.
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The good news
Fruits and vegetables are good for your heart and your waistline
Fruits and vegetables have a well-deserved reputation for helping our bodies stay healthy. They've also been linked with decreasing the risk of many serious illnesses.
For example, several types of cancer have been connected, at least partly, with dietary factors. Of these dietary factors, there has been consistent research indicating an association between increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and the reduced risk of cancer, especially digestive (such as oral, stomach and colon cancers) and respiratory cancers. It's thought that the vitamins, fibre, carotenoids, phytochemicals and other components in fruits and vegetables may be responsible for this protective effect.
A diet high in fruits and vegetables has also been associated with lower risks of developing type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease and high blood pressure (hypertension).
As well as disease prevention, fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, are low in fat and may contain folic acid (green leafy vegetables, asparagus and avocado are good sources) - plus they taste great and are low in calories!
20 ways to eat more vegetables
Think beyond carrot sticks with these tempting ways to enjoy your veggies!
- Add chopped mushrooms, diced carrots, and onion to Spaghetti Bolognese sauce.
- Try mashed sweet potato or pumpkin instead of potato, or combine them for a different flavour.
- Top pizzas with tomatoes, capsicum, mushrooms, pineapple, spring onions, and baby spinach leaves.
- Make savoury muffins with grated carrot or zucchini.
- Add vegetables and beans to soup - great for a winter lunch.
- Make your own dip from mashed avocado, low-fat natural yoghurt, chopped chilli, lemon juice, and chopped fresh coriander. Serve with crunchy carrot sticks and crisp red capsicum strips.
- Add cooked beetroot to chocolate cake. Not only does it make the cake moist, it adds fibre.
- Make stuffed baked potatoes with corn kernels, spring onions, mushrooms, and red capsicum.
- Make a quick and easy stir-fry dinner - you can throw in almost any type of vegetable - just slice them thinly so that they all cook evenly.
- Sneak grated carrot or diced mushrooms into meatloaf.
- Make a healthy after-school or after-work snack by topping a slice of wholemeal bread with sliced tomato, mushrooms and ham, sprinkling with a little grated cheese and grilling until bubbling.
- Get creative with salads. Don't just stick to lettuce, tomato and cucumber - add grated carrot, diced capsicum, sliced mushrooms, grated ginger, red onion slices, snow peas, bean sprouts, snow pea sprouts, artichoke hearts, grape tomatoes, spinach leaves, or any of your favourite vegetables.
- Dip baby carrots into a little low-fat salad dressing for an afternoon pick-me-up.
- Make a tasty picnic recipe by stirring diced red capsicum, currants, pine nuts, sliced spring onions, drained tinned salmon, lightly steamed broccoli florets, and fresh basil though cooked rice - serve warm or at room temperature.
- Make a salsa to accompany grilled chicken or fish, from diced tomato, diced avocado, finely chopped spring onions (or diced red onion), chopped chilli, and fresh coriander or mint.
- Spice up a homemade chicken-burger by topping with a slice of pineapple and some sweet chilli sauce.
- Thread vegetable chunks onto skewers and grill - serve with a big, leafy salad.
- Enjoy a café-style breakfast at home by grilling field mushrooms and tomatoes and serving with eggs cooked your favourite way.
- Add grated carrot, diced onion, and fresh herbs to lamb, chicken or beef rissoles (use lean mince).
- Try some of CalorieKing's delicious vegetable-packed, low-calorie recipes.
20 ways to eat more fruit
Eating fruit doesn't just have to mean having an apple a day. With these simple ideas you can go gourmet!
- Add fruit to green salads - try adding sliced pear, apple chunks, grapes, mango pieces, strawberries, dried cranberries, or blueberries.
- Thread fruit chunks on skewers and grill on the barbecue.
- Throw a few handfuls of berries or a sliced banana into your pancake batter.
- Add exotic fruits, such as papaya, mango, star fruit, lychees, or tamarillo, to fruit salad.
- Stuff apples with dates, dried apricots and walnuts and bake in the oven for a delicious dessert.
- Pack dried fruit for a handy on-the-go snack.
- Freeze grapes, mango chunks, or banana pieces and eat frozen for a cool treat.
- Make an energising drink by blending apple, ginger, carrot, and orange.
- Add grapes, strawberries, figs, or sliced pear to a cheese platter.
- Freeze lemon slices or berries in ice cubes and add to drinks.
- Dip apple slices, strawberries, grapes, rockmelon, or fresh pineapple in a chocolate fondue.
- Use up over-ripe bananas to bake a banana loaf or muffins. Add some sultanas for extra sweetness.
- Make an elegant dinner party dessert by dipping strawberries in white chocolate, letting them set, and then half-dipping in milk or dark chocolate.
- Stew apples, pears, apricots, or rhubarb, and serve on breakfast cereal, or with low-fat custard or yoghurt for a tasty dessert.
- Pour fruit-flavoured jelly over cups full of grapes, or other fruit chunks, and leave to set.
- Blend seedless red grapes with cranberry juice, some frozen low-fat berry yoghurt and ice for a delicious smoothie.
- Swirl pureed canned apricots or mashed raspberries through slightly-softened low-fat vanilla ice cream and return to the freezer to re-freeze.
- Add fresh fruit to school lunch boxes - either whole or in chopped chunks. Squeeze a little lemon juice on apples and pears to prevent browning.
- Finish Asian-style meals with fresh pineapple for a sweet, refreshing taste.
- Try some of CalorieKing's delicious fruity, low-calorie recipes.
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Last updated: February 16th, 2007
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