Insider’s Viewpoint: Eat More Fruits & Veggies by Reducing Prep Time
Produce sections at the supermarket are front and center, but many Americans continue to be lost when it comes to getting their daily fill of fruits and vegetables. How much is enough? At least five ½-cup servings of fruits and vegetables per day have shown a 28% decrease in cardiovascular disease, yet most Americans are only eating 1.1 servings of fruit and 1.6 servings of vegetables per day.1,2
So, how do you add more fruits and veggies to your day? Reduced preparation time and increase flavor! Luckily, most supermarkets provide shortcuts, and fruits and vegetables in all forms (fresh, frozen and canned) are easy additions to most recipes.
Top 3 Fruit & Veggie Preparation Tips
Tip #1: Look around the perimeter of the produce section. Prepared and packaged fresh fruits and veggies abound at most markets.
Tip #2: The salad bar is not just for salads anymore! Kale and fresh cut fruits and veggies are prepared daily, ready to use as an ingredient in any dish.
Tip #3: Stock the pantry and freezer with canned and frozen vegetables. In a crunch, these are fresh, healthy ingredients that can be added to any dish.
Top 3 Fruit & Veggie Cooking Tips
Tip #1: Roasting and grilling vegetables is a great way to bring out their natural sugars. Keep this Personal Guide to Roasting Vegetables tip sheet in your kitchen drawer. Either fresh cut by your grocer or by you, toss the veggies with a little olive oil and roast at 450°F. Add herbs and spices then serve for dinner and incorporate what’s leftover into other dishes and soups. Try the recipes below …
Tip #2: Dress vegetables up using your favorite vinaigrettes. From a simple balsamic vinaigrette to a basil pesto for roasted broccoli, the healthy fats from these dressings add tons of flavor to the everyday veggie. Try the recipes below …
Tip #3: One-pot dishes are the way to go after a busy day! Use vegetables as the main course for dishes that require very little preparation. To simplify life, adapt recipes by using prepped kale from the salad bar, quick cook whole grains, and frozen veggies! Maybe you didn’t get enough vegetables earlier in the day? Double the veggies in this one-pot dish to make up the difference! Try the recipes below …
So how will you include five ½-cup servings of fruits and vegetables every day to your healthy lifestyle?
- Hung HC, Joshipura KJ, Jiang R, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of major chronic disease. JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004;96(21):1577-1584
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables, 2013. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2013.
Peggy Balboa, RD, LDN
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