Getting Your 5-A-Day (or more)
Desiri Wightman, RD
Incorporating 5 servings of fruit and/or vegetables into your daily diet will improve your health, increase your fiber intake, and decrease your risk of some cancers. Here's how to do it!
What's a Serving?
1 medium fruit or ½ c. small or cut-up fruit
¾ c. of 100% fruit or vegetable juice
¼ c. dried fruit
½ c. raw or cooked vegetables
1 c. raw leafy vegetables (spinach, lettuce)
½ c. cooked beans or peas (lentils, pinto beans, kidney beans, refried beans)
The Possibilities are Endless . . . !
Add a low-fat salad to lunch. Jazz it up with garbanzo beans and crunchy, red beets.
Crunch on an apple for a snack . . . or carrot sticks, cucumber slices, or celery sticks.
Make veggies a part of a quick dinner. Microwave or steam them in just a few minutes.
Keep a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter, table or at the office.
- Store fruits and veggies on a top shelf of the refrigerator (so you'll see them and eat them).
- Drink a glass of juice on ice instead of soda pop.
- Top your cereal (hot or cold) with berries, a banana, or a peach (canned or fresh)
- Top yogurt, pancakes, or waffles with fruit.
- Grab a piece of fruit or a canned fruit snack pack as you head out the door.
- Eat dried apples or apricots, applesauce, carrots, bananas, broccoli and any others in the morning, after school or work, while reading, or watching TV.
- Pack a piece of fruit or a packet of dried fruit in you pocket, briefcase or backpack so you have a good snack and won't succumb to a vending machine or a cupboard full of chips or candy.
- Eat a sweet crunchy red pepper, a pear or a snack of dried fruit mix.
- Whip up some quick bean tacos using a can of pinto beans and a packet of taco seasoning.
- Grab a package of frozen strawberries from the grocer's freezer to have strawberry shortcake in December.
- Bake up banana or zucchini or cranberry bread. Try pumpkin or blueberry or canned fruit muffins.
- Add diced zucchini, shredded or sliced carrots, mushrooms, chopped onions, peppers, or celery to your spaghetti sauce, omelets, chili, or lasagna.
- Steam broccoli spears for 5 minutes and sprinkle with lemon juice.
- Add frozen green peas or corn to a beef stew or chicken casserole for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
- Stir-fry zucchini or yellow squash slices for 1 minute in a teaspoon of oil; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- Pierce a russet or medium sweet potato with a fork in several places; microwave on high for 4-5 minutes or until done. Serve the baked potato with your choice of low-fat toppings. Top the sweet potato with a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon or a dash of salt and pepper.
- Add shredded or chopped fruit to rice or salads (apples, pears, dates, apricots, and raisins).
- Add shredded or chopped veggies to breads, muffins, casseroles, salads, and omelets (zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, green peppers, and potatoes).
- Enjoy chilled canned fruit for dessert. Or, warm up chopped canned peaches, juice and all, to serve over ice cream, pancakes, or waffles. Season with cinnamon and thicken with a cornstarch paste, if desired.
* DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions! Email us and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *