Fruits and vegetables offer a wide range of nutritional benefits:
- Nearly all are naturally low in fat, a good source of fiber and provide several nutrients including Vitamin A and Vitamin C
- Certain vegetables, like avocados, contain monounsaturated fat, which has been found to lower cholesterol levels
- Produce also offers phytonutrients, that may help prevent chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes
The "balanced plate" method of healthy eating recommends we fill half of each plate with fruits and vegetables for at least three meals each day. The Recommended Daily Allowance varies with age, gender, calorie needs and physical activity level. Adults should aim for one and a half to three cups of fruit and two and a half to four cups of vegetables each day.
Try these easy ideas to put more fruits and veggies on your plate:
- Get creative with salads — try a spinach salad with strawberries or raspberries, and add drained, canned mandarin oranges and slices of red onion; add slivered almonds or pine nuts for a touch of protein — or top your salad with low-fat feta cheese
- Make a smoothie —bananas, berries and peaches are classic ingredients; add fresh spinach leaves for a nutrient-rich drink that entices even the most finicky eaters
- Dip it — swirl yogurt with mashed, fresh berries or a touch of peanut or sunflower seed butter — great with bananas or apples; try salsa or hummus with carrots, celery and jicama sticks
- Cook vegetables to perfection — they should be slightly crunchy: stir-fry, prep in microwave-friendly bags, or steam them to keep colors vibrant and nutrition high — grate fresh Parmesan or Romano to add a hint of cheese flavor without added salt
- Spice it up — add thinly sliced bell peppers, cucumbers or radishes to sandwiches and wraps
- Make a splash — perk up cooked greens with vinegar
Giant Eagle carries local, farm fresh produce as well as exotics like starfruit and pomegranate, all at low everyday prices. Looking for more ways to fill your plate with fruits and veggies? Contact the registered dietitians at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ricotta Fruit Dip
Involve the kids in making this healthy afterschool snack with loads of flavor:
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp orange juice
1 cup vanilla yogurt
assorted cut-up fresh fruit
Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor; cover and blend until smooth. Serve with assorted fruit.
Brought to you by the Registered Dietitians at Giant Eagle and Market District®
Important Physician Advice Disclaimer: The content provided by Giant Eagle®, including but not limited to, website, recipe and health information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician for professional guidance before changing or undertaking a new diet program. Advance consultation with your physician is particularly important if you are under the age of 18, pregnant, nursing or have health problems.