7 Days, 7 Ways: Add More Color to Meals
Fruits and vegetables add a wealth of vitamins, minerals and protective plant compounds, called phytochemicals, to meals and snacks for optimal health. Each color represents a different set of nutrients, so aim for a variety of produce in your meal plan each week. Here are some ideas for adding fruits and vegetables every day:
- Fruit Salad: Keep a bowl of your favorite mixed fruits – like grapes, honeydew melon, watermelon, strawberries, cherries, blueberries and blackberries – in the refrigerator. Eat as a side with breakfast or as a naturally sweet dessert after any meal.
- Spiralized Veggies: Purchase pre-cut veggies or utilize a spiralizer to cut zucchini, yellow squash, butternut squash or carrots. Sauté in a drizzle of olive oil with your favorite spices to complement any meal. Spiralized veggies also make great burger toppers or pasta alternatives!
- Crudités: Snack on raw veggies with cottage cheese, hummus or dip as a between-meal snack.
- Roasted Root Vegetables: Roast bite-size chunks of potato, sweet potato, turnip, beet, parsnip or carrot on a sheet pan in the oven. Season with oil and spices that complement your main dish.
- Purees and Soups: Serve pureed veggie soups like tomato, butternut squash or potato as appetizers. Use a low sodium vegetable, chicken or beef broth as a base to utilize leftover veggies in a ‘garden’ soup.
- Lettuce Wraps: Serve your favorite sandwich fare wrapped in crunchy butter lettuce, romaine or cabbage leaves.
- Squash Boats: Hollow out a large zucchini or spaghetti squash and bake filled with cooked ground turkey, rice and diced tomato, as you might do with a stuffed pepper.
There are countless ways to reap the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. Aim to add one additional serving today, with a goal of 5 or more servings each day. Experiment with different produce options as they come in season and go on a culinary journey by trying new flavor combinations and recipes!