It's a well-known fact, but it's worth repeating: Fruits and vegetables can help protect you against many chronic diseases — not to mention, they also provide you with the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function. Try these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Agriculture. Before you know it, they will be a seamless part of your everyday lifestyle.
- Make a fruit-and-yogurt parfait for breakfast. Mix a handful of low-fat granola with low-fat yogurt. Add sliced bananas or strawberries.
- Top a piece of whole-grain toast with peanut butter and sliced bananas.
- Mix blueberries or raspberries into your muffin or pancake batter.
- Add bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms or tomatoes to your scrambled eggs or egg-white omelet.
- Like pizza? Opt for lots of vegetable toppings and less cheese.
- Mix green beans, corn, broccoli or peas into your favorite casserole or pasta dish. Aim to eat more veggies than you do pasta.
- Make a meal of vegetable soup and salad. Beef up your lettuce salad with cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots and sliced cucumbers.
- Create a healthier sandwich: Include lots of spinach or romaine lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced onions and sliced cucumbers, along with whatever lean protein is your favorite.
- Mix fresh fruit, ice cubes and low-fat yogurt in a blender for a fruit-smoothie snack.
- Keep apples, oranges, pears and bananas nearby for go-to snacking.
Explore different varieties of vegetables and fruits for appealing tastes and textures. The more you experiment, the easier it will become to incorporate these foods into your daily diet and reap all the health benefits.