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Eating many types of colorful fruits and vegetables every day can help you reach a healthy weight. They are low in fat, calories and sodium. They also contain lots of water and fiber to make you feel full. That means you can cut back on calories and still have volume in your meals. Fruits and vegetables do more than just help manage your weight. They are packed with needed vitamins, minerals and helpful nutrients that work together to protect your health. 

Include 1½ to 2½ cups of vegetables and 1 to 2 cups of fruits each day. Getting more fruits and veggies is easy if you include them throughout the day. This handout includes some tips.

Breakfast

  • Start the day with ¾ cup 100% fruit or vegetable juice.

  • Slice bananas, strawberries or peaches on ready-to-eat cereal or add to yogurt.

  • Stir grated carrot or zucchini into muffins. Add pumpkin, diced apple, banana or blueberries to pancake batter.

  • Add frozen fruit, like raspberries, strawberries or blueberries, to hot cereal.

  • Scramble eggs with a frozen vegetable medley and add salsa.

  • Top pancakes or waffles with warm applesauce and a dash of cinnamon instead of syrup.

  • Make a fruit smoothie by blending low fat milk or yogurt (soy, almond or dairy) and 1 cup frozen or fresh fruit in a blender.

Lunch

  • Boost the flavor of a green salad by adding berries, orange, grapefruit or tangerine slices.

  • Fill a pita with black beans, mixed greens, peppers and tomatoes. Top with salsa.

  • Pack a lunch with plenty of raw veggies. Try carrots, celery sticks, peppers, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, radishes, sugar snap peas, cucumber, zucchini, and jicama. Cutting these veggies the night before will make your morning more relaxed.

  • Make a quick veggie spread with ricotta cheese, shredded carrots, chopped celery and green onions. Use as a dip for fresh veggies or spread on bagels and crackers.

  • Try the salad and soup bars offered at many grocery stores.

 

Dinner

  • Add extra veggies and beans to casseroles, pasta, soups and stews.

  • Make a tortilla wrap with refried beans, corn, chopped peppers, tomatoes and salsa.

  • Use crisp lettuce leaves to make Asian style lettuce wraps.

  • Steam frozen veggies for an easy side dish or add to pasta sauce.

  • Buy ready-pac bags of spinach, cabbage, or broccoli mixes for an easy stir-fry or speedy salad.

  • Order veggie pizza, veggie pasta or a veggie sandwich when eating out. Ask for extra veggies on your sandwich.

  • When eating out, replace French fries with a salad, vegetable soup or fruit.

  • Fruit makes a sweet and tasty dessert.

 

Snacks

  • For grab and go snacks, choose dried fruit with no added sugar like raisins, apricots, blueberries, cherries, plums and apples.

  • Keep ready-to-eat veggies at eye-level in the fridge. When in a hurry, snack on fresh fruits and veggies that you don’t need to prepare. Try baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, grapes, apples and bananas.

  • Drink a glass of low sodium vegetable juice.

 

Teach Back

  • What is the most important thing you learned from this handout?

  • What changes will you make in your diet/lifestyle, based on what you learned today?

If you are a UW Health patient and have more questions please contact UW Health at one of the phone numbers listed below. You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition.

Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and American Family Children’s Hospital (AFCH) can be reached at: (608) 890-5500

Nutrition clinics for UW Medical Foundation (UWMF) can be reached at: (608) 287-2770