How to get more fruit and veggies in your family's diet

Wondering how to have balanced, healthy meals for your family? Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables to meet the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day! Here are five helpful tips to get your family eating more nutritious and delicious meals.

Swap a starch for a vegetable
Instead of white rice, try cauliflower “rice” which is finely chopped cauliflower in a food processor. You can also purchase riced cauliflower in the frozen or fresh section of the grocery store. Swap out white spaghetti for zucchini noodles. Purchase in the fresh section at the grocery store or make your own with a spiralizer and top with your favorite sauce.

Blend fruit for sauces
Puree frozen, defrosted blueberries, strawberries or raspberries with a few tablespoons of warm water and 1-2 dried dates for a sweet and delicious, all natural fruit syrup to use on whole wheat pancakes, French toast, waffles, or mix into plain yogurt!

Bake with fruits and vegetables
Try using applesauce or ripe bananas to replace half or all of the fat in baked goods like muffins, pancakes and homemade breads. Also, try adding shredded vegetables like carrots or zucchini into muffins or breads.

Roast those roots
Bring out the sweetness of root vegetables by roasting them in the oven. Turn up the heat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, toss vegetables in 1 tablespoon oil such as olive and canola oil and roast for approximately 20-30 minutes or until golden.  Try cutting root vegetables like parsnips, carrots, or sweet potatoes into strips to make “fries” or thinly slice radishes or beets to make “chips”.

Pack a fruit and vegetable for lunch
A good rule of thumb is to always pack a fruit and vegetable in your lunch! For kids, pack easy to eat fruits and vegetables like grapes, pre-cut apple slices, or peeled tangerines. Swap out sugar-laden fruit snack for dried fruits like dried apricots, mango, or golden raisins. For easy to pack vegetables try baby carrots, sliced sweet bell peppers, or crunchy snap peas.

Meatless Monday
Choose one day out of the week to have a meatless meal and make it vegetable rich! Look up a new recipe to try and get the whole family involved with food shopping, measuring, cooking and serving. Consider making a family favorite dish vegetarian like chili, tacos, or stir fry by using beans or edamame for protein.