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Working in More Fruits and Vegetables

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Losing weight and eating better generally means -- for most of us Americans, to be sure -- that it's time to eat more fruits and vegetables. The current wisdom is that we should have five servings of vegetables in a day, and three servings of fruit. But how?

Or maybe you have been trying to add more plant matter to your diet, but you just don't have the time to really cook. Or, perhaps, your kids are refusing to eat what you've been making. Or maybe you are just plain running out of inspiration. It happens.

Not to worry.

Here are a few ideas.

For fruits:

  • Buy plainer cereals and start adding fresh fruit instead. Strawberries and blueberries will always be a healthier choice than sugared bits, plus you may find that your cereals are less expensive if they are plainer, thereby making it easier for you to afford more berries.
  • Slice apples into tuna salad. This is how I grew up eating tuna salad, and I always wondered why other people did not eat it this way. Chicken salad is a perfectly viable option for this treatment as well -- and try grapes in there, too, for what is almost a Waldorf Salad.
  • Slice bananas and stick them into the center of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I like to slice the banana in half horizontally and then in half vertically, once. That way, about a half a banana goes a long way (bananas do have more calories than many other fruits, plus they are large, so they often count as two servings of fruit if you eat the entire banana) and you do not have a lot of little slices falling out when you bite into your sandwich. Try microwaving the sandwich for thirty seconds to get the peanut butter to melt a little. It is wonderful.

For vegetables:

  • Puree softened vegetables (you just need to pop them in the microwave for maybe four or five minutes beforehand) and toss them into soups and sauces. Just because you are buying jarred tomato sauce for pasta does not mean you can't jazz it up with more tomatoes, onions and mushrooms.
  • Try tossing some vegetables into omelets or even scrambling them with eggs. Bell peppers are great this way.
  • On the barbecue grill, stick cherry tomatoes, onion chunks, mushroom caps and pieces of bell pepper onto skewers. Grill and enjoy. And try barbecuing corn -- just remove the tassels and cook it in the husk until lightly charred.

Spark People has even more ideas for getting more vegetables and fruits into your diet.

And if you want to know where to buy this wonderful produce -- try good old Haymarket. It's open every Friday and Saturday except for Christmas and New Years, from dawn until dusk. And don't forget to haggle!

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