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Tips for Eating More Fruits and Vegetables

Try these recipes this summer

A young child passes strawberries to grandmaYou probably know that the recommendation is four to five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. But we all know how hard it can be to get those all in every day. If you're trying to boost your intake of fruits and veggies, there is no better time than summer. Farms and gardens are full of flavorful, fresh produce. Use these tips, and video recipes, to get started.

Pack your lunch with fruit

It's easy to overlook lunch between managing work and family, but when you skip lunch or choose fast food, it can have an impact on your health over time.  So instead of skipping lunch, prepare colorful salads that include fruit ahead of time:

Try something new for dinner

An apple a day is a good start but take it up a notch or two. Vegetables and fruit contain fiber and plenty of vitamins and are a safe indulgence. At mealtimes, make half your plate fruits and vegetables. There are endless ways to make sure your plate is full of flavor and low-fat items.

  • Add veggies and fruits to your dishes. For example, peaches go well with casseroles or chicken.

  • Buy fruits and vegetables you haven't tried before, like plantains or star fruit.

  • Try mixtures of fruit juice, tomato juice, and lemon juice. Citrus juice helps boost flavor.

  • Grilling vegetables adds a different layer of flavor than other cooking methods.

Looking for some inspiration? Try making honey-glazed peaches over seared chicken for dinner. It only takes 45 minutes, and peaches are in season from late July to September in South Central regions of the United States. To enjoy year-round, peaches can be canned or stored in the freezer.

Snacks can be healthy too

A big myth about snacking is that it's not good for you. This might be true if you're helping yourself with candy, chips, or other junk foods. But you'll feel the difference if you aim for snacks that are high in nutrients and low in salt, sugar, and fat.

The next time you want a snack, try mixed berries with berry cream. It only takes 10 minutes and is easy to make. All you need is coconut milk, vanilla extract, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. The benefits of berries are bountiful. They're powerful antioxidants that help to protect against cancer, heart disease, joint pain, and illnesses. Small fruits are great sources of Vitamins A, B, C, along with fiber and iron.

Track your food on My HealtheVet

Remember: Most fruits are seasonal, so you can try new recipes throughout the year. In My HealtheVet's Track Health feature, you can track everything you eat and be more aware of your choices. Tracking the foods you choose can help you understand your eating habits better. To learn more, try your hand at this short quiz to test your fruit and vegetable know-how.

Please vote in our unscientific poll. All responses are anonymous.

Which recipe would you try first?