Get Fruits and Veggies to the Plate

By Roberta Duyff, MS, RD, FAND
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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.

Take Fruit to Lunch

Make a habit of tucking an apple, tangerine, two plums or kiwifruit, grapes, cherries or dried fruits 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 such as 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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