5 Ways to Enjoy More Daily Fruits & Veggies

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Now, here’s something worth celebrating. June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, inviting us to enjoy these colorful, antioxidant-packed foods as much as possible. How many fresh produce servings do you need daily? Well, that just got easier. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a replacement to the food pyramid [MyPyramid] Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, advising now to simply fill half your plate with fruits and veggies at each meal.

“This science-based, government recommendation to make half your plate fruits and vegetables is a significant and positive step in the battle to fight obesity and related health issues in America,” says Dr. Elizabeth Pivonka, president and CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation. Here are 5 ways to enjoy more fresh produce on a daily basis:

Incorporate breakfast shakes
A whey or soy protein-rich breakfast shake is an easy way to consume multiple fruit servings at once, and also helps jumpstart your metabolism and anchor your blood sugar levels. Add some flaxseed oil and green superfood powder and you have a highly nourishing meal to keep you going long and strong.

Take advantage of salads
Salads offer endless creative opportunities to combine fresh produce with protein, whole grains, and healthy fats in healthy, delicious ways. Seafood Louie’s and Greek, Taco and Cobb entrée salads are hearty and satisfying, and lighter salads based on greens and other colorful veggies and/or fruit can accompany any main course.

Keep the fruit in sight
Bring back the fruit bowl tradition, with apples, bananas, oranges and tangerines on the table for easy access, even on the go. Keep fresh fruit at your office or place of business too, though more perishable fruit like berries should be kept chilled. Let kids select their favorites each week at your farmer’s market to increase their enthusiasm for healthy options.

Swap the snacks
Take advantage of fresh foods to help shift family snack habits. It’s easier to break away from chips, cookies, and soda if beautiful, fresh produce is readily available. Emulate the French with a crudité platter consisting of a variety of cut-to-size veggies, such a cucumbers, carrots, jicama, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, celery, fennel, etc. Serve with an array of creative dipping sauces or dressings.

Target healthy desserts
Fruit-based desserts are not only healthier than other sweets, they’re luscious as well. Fruit tarts perfectly showcase the season’s bounty. Splurge on fresh papayas and mangoes, make blueberry parfaits, enjoy succulent strawberries dipped in dark chocolate, or top ice cream with fresh, ripe black berries. You might even try frozen banana “ice cream.” Kids love it too!

The more fresh, tasty, colorful produce you enjoy daily, the better you’ll feel. See if these ideas help you make some healthy adjustments to your daily menus─not just for summer, but all year long. Bon appétit!

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