Fruit and Vegetable Basics
Fruits and Vegetables* Fruits and vegetables look good, taste great and contain vitamins and minerals.
* You can get your variety of fruits and vegetables in many ways because fruits and vegetables come fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and as 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice.
* Wash fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly in water.
How Many Cups of Fruits and Vegetables Do You Need?
It depends on your age, gender, and activity level. To find the amount of fruit and vegetables that are right for you visit FruitsaVeggiesMatter.gov.
* Not sure how to increase your fruit and vegetable intake? Start the day with 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice. Slice bananas or strawberries on top of your cereal. Have a salad with lunch, and carrot sticks for an afternoon snack. Include a vegetable with dinner and you already have about 5 Cups of fruits and vegetables. If you need more than 5 cups per day (see chart above), try adding a piece of fruit for a snack or an extra vegetable (like carrots or green beans) at dinner.
* There are so many choices when selecting fruits and vegetables. Have you ever tried kiwifruit? How about asparagus? Try something new that helps you reach your goal.
* Keep things fresh and interesting by combining fruits and vegetables of different flavors and colors, like red grapes with pineapple chunks, or cucumbers and red peppers.
* When you keep fruits and vegetables visible and easily accessible you tend to eat them more; for instance, store cut and cleaned produce at eye-level in the refrigerator, or keep a big bowl of fruit on the table.
* You can get some of your fruits and vegetables at restaurants too. Try some of these healthy choices.
o veggie pizza
o pasta with vegetables (but watch out for those high fat cream sauces)
o fresh vegetable "wrap"
o vegetable soup
o small salad (instead of fries)
o plenty of fresh vegetables from the salad bar.
In A Hurry During The 9 To 5?
Buy ready-to-eat packaged fresh vegetables that are already cleaned. Pre-cut vegetables and salad mixes are a terrific time-saver. You'll find them at your local supermarket.
* A fast food alternative? Your local supermarket may offer prepared items, including sliced melons, fresh pineapple, salad mixes, and a salad bar to satisfy your hunger.
* Fruits and vegetables are nature's original fast food. When it's snack time, grab
o Fruit -Â an apple or orange, or a zip lock bag and fill with sweet cherries, grapes, dried dates, figs, prunes, raisins, or apricots
o Vegetables -Â carrot sticks, broccoli, or some red, yellow, and green pepper. Try dipping your vegetables in low-fat or non-fat salad dressing.
* In a hurry for a healthy treat? Pick fruits and vegetables that require little peeling or chopping, like baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, grapes, broccoli spears, an apple, a banana, or a box of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice.
* Here's a great way to get a variety of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Buy low-fat or non-fat yogurt, fruit juice, and fresh, canned, or frozen fruit to blend a quick fruit smoothie. Get juicy! Buy 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice to quench your thirst and satisfy one serving of your fruit and vegetable goals.
Top Your Meals With Fruits and Vegetables
* Try these tasty additions to add flavor to your salad:
o Green or red pepper strips, broccoli florets, carrot slices, or cucumber add crunch to your pasta or potato salad.
o Baby carrots, shredded cabbage, or spinach leaves bring color to a green salad.
o Apple chunks, pineapples, and raisins perk up coleslaw, chicken or tuna salads.
o Oranges, grapefruit, or nectarine slices add extra flavor to any salad.
o Fruit juice, flavored vinegars, or herbs make low-fat salad dressings flavorful without adding fat or salt.
o Add sliced banana, blueberries, or raisins to cereal.
* Add fresh fruit and vegetables to foods you already eat -Â like berries and bananas to yogurt and cereal; vegetables to pasta and pizza; and lettuce, tomato and onion to sandwiches.
* Put some punch into your party by blending 100 percent fruit juices to create a refreshing new juice. Try mixing pineapple, orange, grapefruit, or other fruit juices. Add a slice of lemon or lime as a garnish.
Cooking With Fruits and Vegetables
* Using a microwave is fast and fun. Use a microwave or pressure cooker to quickly "zap" vegetables or a potato and retain their nutrients.
* Grill fruits or vegetables. When grilling, wrap vegetables in aluminum foil, or use skewers of pineapple, yellow squash, eggplant, nectarines, zucchini, or cherry tomatoes, onions, mushrooms. Place over medium-hot coals for a fun-to-eat and flavorful BBQ treat.
* Make a quick smoothie in the blender by pureeing peaches and/or nectarines, a touch of your favorite fruit juice, crushed ice, and a light sprinkling of nutmeg.
* Make homemade salsa with tomatoes, mangoes, avocados, red onions, cilantro, and lime juice.
* Looking for a fun appetizer when you entertain? Try making spears of fruit by attaching strawberries, grapes, melon slices, or pineapple chunks onto small skewers. Use low-fat or non-fat yogurt for a dip.
* Here's a quick fruit salad you can make in less than a minute. Open a can of juice-packed mandarin oranges and empty into a bowl. Add a sliced banana, a sliced apple, and some blueberries or raisins.
* Cool off with a great treat! Pour 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice into an ice cube tray or popsicle mold to make juice cubes or popsicles.
* Sometimes you can eat some of your fruit and vegetables their own containers. Kiwifruit comes with its own serving cup and cantaloupe with its own serving bowl. Just cut them in half through the middle and scoop out each half with a spoon.
Fun For Kids
* Top off a bowl of cereal with a smiling face from sliced bananas for eyes, raisins for a nose, and an orange slice for a mouth.
* You can use broccoli florets for trees, carrots and celery for flowers, cauliflower for clouds, and a yellow squash for a sun. When you're all done, you can eat your masterpiece!
* Make frozen fruit kabobs for kids using pineapple chunks, bananas, grapes and berries.
* Go shopping with your children. Take them to the grocery store or farmers market to let them see all the different sizes and colors that fruit and vegetables offer. Let them pick out a new fruit and vegetable to try. By making it fun and involving your kids, they'll be more likely to eat healthy foods.
Fruits, Vegetables, and Eye Health
It's no secret that eating healthfully can have a positive effect on your eye health. But don't stop at just carrots, there are plenty of other foods that are proven to benefit your eyes and keep your vision in tip-top shape.
Lutein & Zeaxanthin
Consume Eggs, kale, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, corn, garden peas and Brussels sprouts to get massive blasts of these important antioxidants which have been identified as eye-health boosters!
Foods rich in Vitamin-C, such as Red berries, kiwi, red and green bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, and juices made from guava, grapefruit, and oranges, are absolutely great for your eyes and vision!
Vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, avocados, wheat germ, and whole grains. Of course always avoid processed oils, as the health benefits can be quickly outweighed by the potential harmfulness of these oils.
Recommended Eye Doctors
If you live in the Austin, TX area (as I do) then you may want to look at this list of the best eye doctors in Austin. Cheers to your health!