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Strive For Five: Add More Fruits And Vegetables To Your Diet

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The summer months produce some of the most deliciously ripe and ready-to-eat fruits and veggies. Their seasonally vibrant flavors can help even the pickiest eaters “Strive for Five”—a goal of eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Here is a four-point plan to help you add more fruits and vegetables to your diet.

Satisfy a Sweet Tooth

Do you crave sweets in the afternoon? Summer fruits like peaches, watermelon, and mango will fulfill your cravings in place of snacks containing artificial sweeteners or refined sugars. If your produce needs to ripen a bit, place peaches, plums, and nectarines into a paper bag on the counter, out of direct sunlight, for a day or two.

Make Greens Yummy

If green veggies are not among your favorites, you can hide nutrient-rich spinach, kale or other greens by blending them with almond milk, a banana, and mango or berries into a delicious smoothie, where the fruit flavors will dominate.

Sandwich Alternative

Whole grain tortillas or pita pockets make it easy to reduce bready carbs and load up on veggies by adding ingredients like: peppery arugula or crisp romaine; julienned zucchini, carrots, and celery; thinly sliced tomatoes and cucumbers; or avocado and beans. Or skip the bread altogether and use lettuce as a wrap.

Dinner (and Dessert, Too!)

For a tasty alternative to steamed vegetables, try roasting them with a little salt, pepper, and olive oil until tender; the flavors that come out during roasting may surprise you. In many baked goods, pureed or mashed bananas, pumpkin, or plums can replace some of the eggs and butter while keeping your treats moist. In crisps and pies that contain fruit, increase the quantity of produce in the recipe. Or simply bake a piece of fruit with some spices to bring out its natural sweetness.

For more strategies on healthy eating, participate in the Nutrition Solutions for Health and Wellness seminar at source4women.com on Sept. 9, 2014 at 12:30 p.m. with Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD. Visit Online Seminars & Events at source4women.com to register for this complimentary seminar.