Get a jumpstart on dinner by filling microwave steaming bags with vegetables, one for every night of the week.
Steam your vegetables, then add low-calorie or low-fat dressings, and herbs and spices to add flavor. Some cooking techniques, such as breading and frying, or using high-fat dressings or sauces will greatly increase the calories and fat in the dish. And eat your fruit raw to enjoy its natural sweetness.
Take your favorite lasagna recipe and try adding different combinations of your favorite vegetables between the layers: mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, onions, or eggplant. Be creative.
Stir low-fat or fat-free granola into a bowl of low-fat or fat-free yogurt. Top with sliced apples or berries.
Add low fat cream cheese to celery stalks. Top with raisins for ants on a log.
Combine frozen 100% juice and berries, then freeze to make popsicles.
Mix canned spinach or frozen broccoli into your pasta dish.
If cooking fruits and vegetables takes too much time, consider microwaving vegetables, buying pre-cut fruits and vegetables, using canned or frozen items, drinking 100% fruit juice, or pre-washing vegetables so they are ready for cooking.
Use a fork to pierce whole, unpeeled vegetables such as potatoes or yams to keep them from bursting while cooking.
For even cooking, cut vegetables into small same-size pieces.
Try adding diced tomatoes, cucumbers and onions to your turkey-dogs.
Add lots of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sprouts, or other vegetables to your turkey burgers.
Slice, marinate (try balsamic vinegar) and grill a variety of vegetables including zucchini, asparagus, green onions, eggplant, and mushrooms. They’re delicious!
Pizza for dinner! Pizza can be a healthy choice whether you cook in or take-out when loaded with your favorite veggies.
Dress up a salad for your main meal. Add slices of grilled chicken or fish. Top with Mandarin oranges. A cool crunchy salad is refreshing on a hot summer day.
Make potatoes the star of the show. Top hot, split, baked potatoes with 3-bean chili, broccoli and cheese, or grilled onions and mushrooms for a quick and filling meal.
Grill a berry-filled dessert – slice a ripe peach in half, remove the pit, and fill the peach with blueberries. Sprinkle each half with brown sugar and lemon juice, wrap in aluminum foil, and place on the grill for 15 minutes, turning only once.
Grill your dessert – sprinkle bananas with cinnamon and brown sugar, place on aluminum foil, and let it sizzle. Or get creative, and try grilled bananas for your banana split!
Grill your own potato bites dice potatoes, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with seasoning, wrap in aluminum foil, and place on the grill.
Grill tropical fruit such as papaya and mango and serve with grilled fish.
Choose ½ cup of applesauce for baking instead of a ½ of cup oil.
Cut strawberries into heart shapes.
One night of the week, let your child be in charge of the meal, making sure that they choose a veggie.
Make an all-fruit kabob – pineapple, banana, papaya, and pear chunks work well.
Make shish-kabobs! Cut meat into 1-inch pieces and skewer with whole mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, chopped pieces of onions, bell peppers, and pineapple.
Enlist help from your kids at dinnertime. Have them prepare a vegetable tray as an appetizer or an accompaniment with dinner while you prepare the main entree.
Ask your older children to help encourage their younger siblings to eat fruits and veggies.
Buy both regular raisins and golden raisins, have your kids do a taste test.
Let your child taste the difference between canned, frozen or fresh green beans – let them decide their favorite form.
Help kids make frozen fruit kabobs using pineapple chunks, bananas, grapes and kiwis.
Cookie cutters can be used to make fun shapes out of melon slices. Kids will love experimenting – and eating their favorites!