Connect & follow

Ask the Expert Archive

Ask the Expert

All fruits and vegetables help to maintain/loose weight! Fruits and vegetables are important to eat in any weight loss diet because they:
  • Are full of fiber and water which helps you stay fuller for longer
  • Are naturally low in calories
  • Replace ‘bad’ foods that are high in fat and sugar
  • Help you eat less because their crunchy nature makes you chew more and therefore you consume less at each eating occasion
  • Give you the energy to be physically active

Visit our Recipe Database for tons of recipes that meet our strict dietary guidelines and will help you to meet your weight loss goals!

Our message has actually changed in 2007 from 5-A-Day to Fruits & Veggies—More Matters when the daily recommendations for fruits and vegetables changed. Therefore, the card you are referring to may be an older reference. Our Fruits & Veggies—More Matters Guide is the newer version of this card. Our catalog has tons of great nutrition education material too!
A juicer is a great way to help kids enjoy their fruits and vegetables! The great thing about fruits and vegetables is that there are so many great combinations that taste delicious! Try mixing bananas, oranges and strawberries. Add blueberries for a burst of blue or spinach for a burst of green! The great thing about spinach is that you can add a few leaves to any smoothie and you add vitamins and minerals with out changing the flavor. When it comes to juicing make sure that when combining fruits and vegetables choose a fruit or vegetable with a strong flavor (i.e. bananas, raspberries, or oranges) that your child already knows and enjoys. This will make them more willing to try all of your combinations. Get creative and try lots of combinations out on your own! Also visit our recipe database for lots of great kid-friendly recipes!
Also, I know that it can be hard to get your son to eat fruits and vegetables, but there is hope! Try our Top 10 Ways to Get Kids Involved in the Cooking Process—when kids are part of the cooking process they are more likely to try fruits and vegetables. Read our tips about Picky Eaters and learn the answers to the frequently asked questions of moms like you!
Sign up for our Free Newsletter keeps you updated on the latest news about fruits and vegetables, quick tips, weekly menus and recipes, and other great information!

Let’s be honest–we’ve all done it.  Okay, some of us more than others, but I’m sure at some point you and your family have been seated in a restaurant and end up feasting on meals that look nothing like the nutritious versions you prepare at home.  For some reason the moment we open that menu all common sense goes out the window, doesn’t it?  A typical dinner of baked chicken breast, roasted sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli at home morphs into a fried chicken concoction covered in melted cheese, mashed potatoes drowning in gravy and a few buttered dinner rolls.  It’s no wonder you spend the rest of the evening feeling like you’re about to burst!  In all fairness, many restaurant menus are set up so that it’s easy to make poor nutrition choices, but with a little determination you can turn your dining out experience into a healthy one.

Skip the Entree
More often than not, I opt to go with two smaller first course choices and completely skip ordering a full entree.  For example, you can order a garden salad as a first course and then a hearty bowl of soup–something like minestrone is both filling and packed with healthy ingredients.

Supersize Your Salad
Even if it’s not listed on the menu, most restaurants will provide an entree portion of a first course salad option.  I like to order salads that have a variety of veggies and then add some protein like grilled chicken or shrimp.  Add a piece of whole grain bread and you’ve hit all your food groups.

Check Out the Side Options
I’m a huge fan of "sides" on restaurant menus.  In fact, many times I will order a garden salad and then get two veggie sides for my entree.  Grilled asparagus, baked sweet potato or sauteed spinach are delicious and guilt free.

It’s Okay to Order Dessert
You don’t have to skip dessert–just try to cut your portion size and check out the healthier options.  Many places have seasonal fruit (the BEST choice!) and fruit sorbets are another good pick.  My husband and I will order a slice of plain cheesecake topped with fresh strawberries and share it.  It’s a treat without going overboard.

Give these ideas and additional ones we have on our web site a try the next time you head out to eat.  You might even find your dining experience is more enjoyable when you feel much more comfortable after eating. 

Turkey drumsticks are a great choice for a holiday meal for a smaller group of people, because they don’t leave a lot of leftovers! When preparing a turkey drumstick, first, remove any excess skin or fat. Next, choose a recipe that suits your entertaining occasion. Try heart healthy methods such as baking, roasting, broiling, or grilling your drumsticks. Visit our Fall Entertaining Guide for tips and easy ideas to include fruits and veggies in all of your fall celebrations!
Our nutrition database calculates a small pear (148 g) as 90 calories, a medium pear (166 g) as 100 calories and a large pear (230 g) as 130 calories. Half a cup of cubed cantaloupe (80 g) is approximately 25 calories. Half a cup of cubed honeydew (85g) is approximately 30 calories. Visit our Fruit & Veggie Database for all of your fruit and veggie nutrition information including calories, vitamins and minerals!
Every month we add 8 new 30-minute or less recipes! These recipes can easily be reduced to make one serving, or you can save the leftovers for later! Here are some tips when preparing food for just you:
  1. Determine the number of serving of a recipe and divide it by that number to create a one person meal (this is trial and error for the taste quality because some of the recipes don’t work as well when you cut them in half or more).
  2. Snack! You can easily make a one person snack that is nutrient dense and delicious. Try this Apple-Hazelnut Salad in a Cup—it makes 1 serving!  
  3. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables, clean them, and chop them at the beginning of each week for easy additions to all your meals. Fruit and Vegetable Storage and Selection Information
  4. Buy already washed spinach or romaine lettuce to make a quick salad. Top with beans and you have a complete meal!
  5. Most grocery stores offer frozen fruits, vegetables, poultry, and other meat and meatless products that can be used as needed. If you are just cooking for yourself for the night, just use one chicken breast or one veggie burger. Add a salad, side of fruit, and a beverage and you have a well balanced meal!
For low cost meals try:
  1. Shopping in season.
  2. Remember that all forms of fruits and veggies count toward your daily recommendation (fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice).
  3. Keep your eye on special sales and coupons
  4. Plan your meals
  5. Try our 30 days in 30 ways menu ideas—just cut the serving sizes down to make 1 or 2 servings
  6. Keep a Well Stocked Pantry to have healthy items available to you when you need a quick meal!
  7. Try eating a meatless meal once or twice a week. Beans are always an economical choice!

A recent discussion with my teenage daughter revealed she was having some body image issues.  Alex is the exact opposite of me at her age–she’s very thin, long arms and legs, a flat belly and narrow hips.  She looks like the typical high school freshman–or so I thought until after the first week of picking her up at school.  While there were girls who closely resembled Alex’s stature, so many looked YEARS older than their actual age.  "I just want to look normal, " she said to me.

Normal–what exactly IS normal?  When I was her age I felt uncomfortable because I matured faster than most other girls.  I longed to be less curvaceous than I was.  I spent most of my middle school years walking around with my arms folded across my chest and now my daughter feels that how I looked at 12 and 13 is normal.

Honestly I can’t blame Alex and many other young girls for feeling this way.  Our culture bombards these kids with images of human Barbie dolls and sets the expectation that unless you meet that standard you’re inadequate.  When you think about it, it isn’t surprising we have so many of our young women either suffering from eating disorders or having some kind of ridiculous plastic surgery to fix what they view as a flaw.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, kids are drowning their insecurities in unhealthy food choices, which results in our society’s current obesity problem.

In a perfect world we’d be able to overhaul these media messages our kids receive, but that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.  So, we as moms need to do a better job of making our daughters feel special regardless of whether or not they fit into this mold.

What we need to focus on is being healthy, which means eating lots of healthy foods (think fruits and veggies!) and incorporating physical activity into each day.  And, for each of us healthy may look a bit different–we come in different shapes and sizes, some tall and thin, some short and stocky.  It’s also important for us, as mothers, to be aware of how we are portraying our own body image around our daughters.  Be careful of how often you complain about your body size or shape and watch those comments on how a friend put on a few pounds.  Our girls listen to us and what we say and do impacts how they look at themselves.

In the end, I told Alex my own story of how I felt at her age and explained that every body shape comes with its ups and downs.  I assured her that there were girls who envied how she looked.  I know her discontentment won’t change overnight, but I intend to keep looking for opportunities to make her see how she’s healthy and beautiful in her own right.

The statement that “children today may be on track to have a shorter lifespan than their parents” comes from a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The article can be found under:
Olhansky, J., Passaro, D., Hershow, R., Layden, J. et al. (2005, May 17). A Potential Decline in Life Expectancy in the United States in the 21st Century. The New England Journal of Medicine, 352 (11), 1139-1144.
Learn the Top 10 Things Parents Can Do to combat childhood obesity and The White House Taskforce’s specific recommendations
The Expert: Dr. Elizabeth Pivonka, a mother of two and a registered dietitian, shares years of experience in getting people to eat more fruits and veggies.
Read her full bio123 >>

Connect & follow

Leave Your Feedback