Get Fruits and Veggies to the Plate!

by Roberta Duyff, MS RDN FAND

Get Fruits and Veggies to the Plate!

Help your family eat right by filling half their plates with fruits and vegetables. One way to do it is by adding layers of flavor. Here are some ideas on how to make meals nutritious and delicious.

Be Saucy with Fruit

Puree berries, apples, peaches or pears for a thick, sweet sauce on grilled or broiled seafood or poultry, pancakes, French toast or waffles.

Bake with Fruits and Vegetables

Use pureed fruit such as applesauce, dried plums (prunes), bananas or peaches in place of about half the fat in recipes for homemade breads, muffins, pancakes and other baked goods. For flavor, texture and nutrients, blend in shredded zucchini, carrots or dried fruits.

"Sandwich" in Fruits and Vegetables

Add pizzazz to sandwiches by layering on sliced pineapple, apple, raisins, peppers, cucumbers, sprouts or tomatoes.

Combine with Veggies or Fruit

Make a quick stir-fry or combine pasta or rice with just about any vegetables, or add them to soup—great ways to use fresh vegetables before they spoil. Add apricots, pineapple, other fruit, or fruit chutney to meat or poultry dishes. Hint: Add canned, frozen or cooked legumes.


Substitute a new-to-you fruit or vegetable in a favorite recipe. Try broccoli rabe (broccoli variety with smaller heads, also called rapini) in stir-fries, fennel in salad, or yautia (a starchy vegetable) in stew. Or try a new fruit or vegetable recipe.

Take Fruit to Lunch

Make a habit of tucking an apple, a tangerine, two plums or kiwifruit, grapes, cherries, dried fruits, or other fruit into your briefcase, tote or lunch bag. Fruit is a great traveling snack.

Stuff an Omelet with Veggies

For a hearty meal, fill it with crisp, tasty vegetables like broccoli, squash, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, spinach or onions.

Toss a Vegetable Salad

Add colorful vegetables, legumes and fruits (such as berries, kiwifruit or mandarin oranges). Even if you prefer iceberg lettuce, which delivers less nutrients than other greens, pair it with other veggies—sliced beets, shredded red cabbage, spinach leaves, baby carrots.

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About the author:

Roberta L Duyff MS RDN FAND

Roberta Duyff, MS RDN FAND

Author of "Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, Fourth Edition" and "365 Days of Healthy Eating from the American Dietetic Association" (both published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New Jersey).




  • Cook healthy

    Involve your child in the cutting, mixing and preparation of all meals. Even a snack can be healthy.

  • Eat right

    Sit down together as a family to enjoy a wonderful meal and the opportunity to share the day's experiences with one another.

  • Shop smart

    To encourage a healthy lifestyle, get your children involved in selecting the food that will appear at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.

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