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As summer winds to an end, fall is a time for harvest. September is Fruit and Veggie Month and Organic Harvest Month. Since most people struggle to eat the recommended half a plate of produce at every meal we’re going to provide you with 30 days of tips to help you add more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
Today for your backyard barbecue grill up some veggies such as onions, bell peppers, eggplant, summer squash or corn on the cob. Or, for dessert, grill up some fruit – yes fruit! The grill caramelizes the natural sugar in the fruit and you get a delicious slightly browned and smoky result. Try peaches, nectarines or pineapple for a real taste treat.
We’re providing you with 30 days of tips to adding more fruits and veggies to your diet because habits (good or bad) take time to break and make. If you’ve been eating a diet laden with fat, sugar and salt you’ve got some hard habits to break and its going to take time.
Making small incremental changes is a good start and keeps you from backsliding. So, if you are used to grabbing a doughnut, bagel or muffin for your mid-morning snack begin by substituting and apple, banana, grapes or blueberries instead. Instead of those chips that are your usual late afternoon snack grab some washed and raw carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, pea pods, green beans or bell peppers.
If you can do that most days than you are on your way to creating a good new habit.
Start the day with a yogurt based fruit smoothie. A few handfuls of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries added to your smoothie can add loads of antioxidants to your diet. Add a banana and you’ve nailed two servings of fruit and you haven’t even made it out the door!
Pile on lettuce, sprouts, tomato, cucumber, onions, avocado, cucumber, bell peppers. You can even skip the meat and do an all veggie version.
You can veggie up your standard tuna salad by adding shredded carrots, diced celery and onions and top it all off with lettuce or spinach and avocado. Chicken salad can be spruced up by adding celery, lettuce, grapes, apples or your favorite dried fruit.
Use your imagination. Use greens besides iceberg lettuce. Choose deep green romaine lettuce, spicy arugula, tender spinach. Try different types of sprouts or sprinkle on some edamame for an added crunch.
Half your plate should be vegetables and the other half should be divided between whole grains and a protein such as lean meat or fish.
Plan/Plant Your Garden. There is still time to plant a fall garden with crops that you can harvest before harsh winter weather strikes. It could be as small as container garden with a single plant, a square foot garden or something larger, help make your community a greener healthier place in which to live.
Plan or Plant a Garden - a downloadable article that includes resources to help you plan your garden.
National Gardening Association – offers the Web’s largest and most respected array of gardening content for consumers and educators, ranging from general information and publications to lessons and grants.
Kids gardening – an offshoot of the National Gardening Association, this website provides information for kids, parents and teachers to make the gardening experience more fun.
Shirley’s Organic Garden – Tips for gardening from veteran gardener, Shirley Barriger.
The choices are endless; grab a handful of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or the old stand-by bananas.
In the winter when fresh berries are scarce or expensive add dried fruit instead: raisins, cranberries, apricots, currents and dates are all great choices.
Looking for an extra way to jazz up that morning granola? Layer it with yogurt and fruit as a morning parfait. Try this nutty breakfast parfait!
Eating raw veggies can get boring, but you can add interest to your veggie snack by dipping it it something tasty. Keep it healthy though and instead of dipping your veggies into a sour cream or salad dressing based dip think out of the box.
Healthy dips include: hummus made with yummy ground chick peas; salsa, guacamole, bean dips and more.
Here are some recipes to get you thinking.
Soup also has an added bonus of making us feel fuller for longer. This is because soup contains more water than solid foods, it fills us up with less calories. A Penn State study between two groups: one who ate a chicken and rice soup and another who ate a solid chicken and rice meal showed the soup group ate 26% less.
You can add loads of veggies to a beef or chicken based soup or strike out and go all veggie in combinations or solo. The possibilities are endless: tomato, butternut squash, pumpkin, mushroom, potato, corn, spinach, broccoli, asparagus and even carrot.
Don’t forget to try a cold fruit based soup for hot summer nights. There are some interesting options for watermelon, strawberry, raspberry, nectarine and pear soups.
Here are a few to get you started:
or visit our soup recipe archives for other options.
- Just have fresh fruit as dessert
- Add fruit to fresh or frozen yogurt
- Add fruit or shredded carrots to sugar free gelatin
- Load up your oatmeal cookie recipe with dried fruit
Here’s a few recipes to try: