Eat more fruits, veggies by adding them to recipes

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Parents might complain about getting kids to eat their vegetables, but even adults often find getting their recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables a challenge.

Lynda Johnson, a registered dietitian and University of Missouri Extension nutrition and health education specialist, offers some simple suggestions to get more fruits and veggies into diets:

* Add fresh berries, dried cranberries or raisins to a bowl of dry cereal or oatmeal.

* Use the blender to make a smoothie by adding a half-cup of berries, a sliced banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter to a cup of milk.

* Alternate layers of yogurt, berries and crunchy bran flakes in a glass or parfait cup.

* Create an easy fruit "pizza" by spreading a dollop of light cream cheese on graham crackers and top with slices of apples or peaches. Drizzle with honey.

* Add sliced strawberries, apples or grapes to a favorite salad or chicken. Enjoy a mixed fruit cup as dessert.

* Stir in fresh or frozen spinach or Swiss chard when preparing chicken noodle soup.

* Add steamed broccoli to macaroni and cheese or a favorite casserole.

* When heating cream of tomato soup, add a cup of mixed vegetables and simmer until vegetables are tender.

* Top frozen pizzas with chopped bell peppers, sliced mushrooms and chopped tomatoes. Bake an extra 10 minutes.

* Keep grated or finely chopped carrots on hand in the freezer to add to meatloaf or spaghetti sauce.

* Stuff a baked potato with cooked broccoli and top with grated cheese and light sour cream.

* Keep mini-carrots and other sliced vegetables in the refrigerator and enjoy them for a snack along with some ranch dip or peanut butter.

"Be creative and think of ways to add extra fruit or vegetables to classic dishes or favorite recipes," Johnson said. "You will then be well on your way to eating the recommended one-and-a-half cups of fruit and two cups of vegetables each day."

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