You know you’re supposed to be getting more fruits and vegetables into your diet. In fact, studies show eating more than five servings of fruits and veggies per day can reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer and early death. Other researchers say 10 servings is the magic number—per day.
OK, so 10 servings a day may seem like a lot, especially if you don’t like the taste, texture, and smell of fruits and vegetables, but there are ways to work them into your routine.
Here are some things you can try to make fruits and veggies tastier.
When I Dip You Dip We Dip
One of the most fun things you can do with fruits and vegetables is to dip them into something. Not only does dipping vary the taste a bit, it’s fun, and in some cases, may provide additional health benefits. Some delicious dips to consider include:
- Yogurt: Many yogurts come with fruit mixed in, but nothing beats dipping some fresh strawberries or banana in your favorite yogurt. And keep this in mind: All yogurts are excellent sources of calcium, potassium, protein and vitamin B12.
- Greek yogurt: Throw some blueberries in, or try pineapples or cherries. Greek yogurt mixed with some herbs — or on its own — also makes a tasty dip for veggies. You’ll get all of the gut-friendly probiotics, healthy fats and muscle-building protein Greek yogurt provides.
- Dark chocolate: If you melt some high-quality dark chocolate (70-85% cacao) it is good for you. That’s because the bioactive compounds in cocoa can improve blood flow in the arteries. It may even lower your blood pressure. So, dipping your fruit in dark chocolate doubles your potential health benefits.
One not-as-healthy option is to whip together 8 ounces of low-fat cream cheese with 7 ounces of marshmallow cream, and a couple of tablespoons of frozen concentrate orange juice. It’s great for kids, especially if you’re trying to get them to eat more fruit.
Vegetables are great for dipping, too. Parmesan dips, dill dips, even cucumber dip will work. You can also try dipping your celery in some peanut butter and your carrots into ranch dressing.
Drink Your Fruits and Veggies
Smoothies or fresh-pressed juices can provide a few servings of vegetables in just a couple of sips. Not only are smoothies and juices a quick and accessible option for increasing your vegetable intake, but you’ll be surprised at how delicious they will taste.
Try popping your vegetables in the oven with some olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. This works great on brussels sprouts, asparagus and broccoli.
Grilling your fruits and vegetables can give them a nice charred appearance and a smoky taste.
Fruits to consider grilling include:
There are a lot of recipes you can try.
Onions, mushrooms, bell peppers and zucchini are all great vegetables to grill. You can mix it up by doing things like:
- Grilling them with a little oil and salt and pepper.
- Marinating them in Italian dressing.
- Adding spices like garlic powder, onion powder or paprika.
Make a Soup
Soups don’t discriminate. You can throw just about any vegetable, or part of it, into a pot with some broth and call it dinner.
For a quick meal, put some vegetable or chicken broth in a slow cooker with some carrots, peas, onions, celery and black pepper and leave on low while you’re at work.
And yes, there is also a recipe for fruit soup you can try, too.
Pair Your Veggies with Cheese
Marry red or green peppers with mozzarella sticks for a tasty snack.
Salads with melon cubes could include brie, feta or mozzarella. You can also try brie with kiwi, ricotta or cottage cheese with peaches, pears and apricots, and cheddar always gets cheers when it’s paired with apples or cauliflower.
You can also make your favorite fruits and vegetables tastier by stuffing them. After coring and seeding tomatoes, stuff them with things like quinoa, pesto, or more vegetables (onions, spinach, and mushrooms come to mind).
Peppers are great for stuffing, too. Make them healthier by filling them with rice, black beans, tomatoes, and cooked onion. Also try stuffing a spaghetti squash with broccoli, or vegetarian stuffed cabbage. No one says getting more servings of fruits and vegetables each day is going to be easy, but finding different ways to enjoy them will help you achieve your goal.
For more tips on how to eat healthy on a busy schedule — including ways to make fast food work for you, cooking tips, sample meal plans, and more — download our free guide.