By Shayna Schertz, wellness education specialist, Community & Preventive Care Services
March is National Nutrition Month. There's no time like this month to change your eating and lifestyle habits and savor the flavor of eating right! Since most Americans fall short on their daily vegetable and fruit consumption, here are 20 ways to get more fruits and veggies into your diet:
- Make a cauliflower or potato pizza crust.
- Replace traditional pizza toppings with veggies for a delicious Vegetable Pizza.
- Add onions, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes or broccoli to your eggs.
- Serve pasta dishes or casseroles on a bed of spinach, arugula or other hearty green.
- Replace half of the meat in a recipe with beans (black or kidney work best).
- Ditch your usual breakfast and try a easy strawberry banana smoothie or protein shake instead.
- Try pasta-less spaghetti and serve spaghetti squash instead. (Trust me, you won't miss the noodles!)
- Replace common snack foods with a piece of fruit.
- Keep a bag of clementines or apples in your desk drawer for hunger emergencies.
- Use vegetables as the main dish. For example, a hearty vegetable soup with a side of cheese and crackers or vegetable stir fry with a small amount of meat if desired.
- Replace oil in pancake or muffin recipes with an equal amount of canned pumpkin or mashed banana.
- Add pureed squash, carrot or other vegetable to marinara sauce and serve in pasta dishes and casseroles.
- Make fruit-based desserts like this amazing citrus salad with star anise recipe.
- Serve fruit and vegetable kabobs as an appetizer for hungry kids and let them create their own flavor combinations.
- Grill said kabobs in the summertime for a flavorful twist.
- Go meatless once a week and try a new vegetarian dish.
- Eat a salad as a main dish, especially in the summer when greens are plentiful. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Each week, try one new fruit or vegetable item. Most grocery stores have a produce guide to help you buy food at its peak freshness and help you store it properly.
- Breathe some new life into old staple vegetables like this herby cucumbers recipe or Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
- Keep an open mind! As we age, our taste preferences change. You may be surprised to find that fruits or vegetables you hated as a kid you actually enjoy now.
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