Fruits and Veggies All Day // Carrot Oat Muffins

How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you eat each day? Do you know how many are recommended? The amount varies depending on your age, your calorie level, and wether you are male or female. You can find the amount specific to you by creating a MyPlate plan. Click here to learn more. The recommendation for the average adult is 2 1/2 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit each day.

Here are five quick tips to help you reach the recommended serving amounts:

  1. Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies. Instead of thinking of fruits and veggies as a side, think of them as the main part of your plate. Fill up half your plate with fruit and veggies first, then add in the rest.
  2. Add more. Look for was to add more fruits or veggies to your favorite recipes. Try a layer of zucchini in your lasagna, shred up carrots in your pasta sauce, or try using applesauce when you make muffins. A little here and there, will add up in the long run.
  3. Stay stocked. Try to keep your kitchen stocked with fresh, canned, and frozen fruit and vegetables. Having them on hand makes it quick and easy to add them to any meal.
  4. Bring them to mind. If you keep fruits and veggies where you can easily see them, you are more likely to use them. A fruit bowl on the countertop, chopped up veggies in the front of the refrigerator, or canned fruit at eye level in the pantry are all great ways to bring them to mind.
  5. Don’t forget dessert. Dessert sometimes gets a bad wrap. Dessert can be a healthy part of your diet when choose a healthier option. Create a fruity dessert, get a serving of fruit, and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time.

Fruitsandveggies.org offers some great ideas to increase fruit and vegetable consumption at any meal:

Breakfast

  • Substitute spinach, onions, or mushrooms for one of the eggs or half the cheese in your morning omelet. This will add volume but decrease the fat!
  • Add fruit to your whole-grain cereal, top with low-fat milk and grab a bottle of vegetable juice for the road.
  • Get up 10 minutes early or plan an on-the-go nutritious breakfast (including fruits or vegetables) the night before.
  • Make some thick oatmeal in a mug that’ll fit in your car’s console. Top with nuts, seeds or dried fruit.
  • Make a waffle or pancake the night before (add blueberries and sprinkle wheat germ in the batter) then pop it in the toaster before you leave in the morning.

Lunch

  • Reduce the amount of meat or cheese on a sandwich by ½ and replace with veggies.
  • Chicken or tuna salad – add an equal amount of chopped fruits or veggies such as celery, grated carrots, cucumber, apples, grapes, pineapple, or dried cranberries.
  • Add ½ a sliced banana or 1 sliced apple to a peanut butter sandwich and reduce the amount of peanut butter by half.
  • Replace pasta in soups with veggies.
  • When eating out, chose vegetarian options that have lots of fruits and vegetables.

Dinner

  • Reduce your portion of meat at a meal and have an extra serving of veggies or salad
  • Replace ½ pasta portion with vegetables topped with sauce
  • Stir-fry veggies with chicken instead of other starchy foods
  • Make chili with ½ the meat replaced with beans and veggies
  • Make a portabella mushroom or black bean burger instead of your traditional hamburger

Snacks

  • 1 cup of whole strawberries AND 1 cup of carrots with 1/4 cup of low-calorie dip
  • Pop a few strawberries, blueberries, carrots, broccoli, or any other ‘popable’ fruits & veggies; they’re great options to snack on as is
  • Make fruit kabobs or fruit popsicles
  • Try hummus with carrots, celery, cauliflower, or other vegetables
  • Guacamole! It’s heart healthy and delicious
  • Apples. DYK? 1 snack-size bag of corn chips (1 oz) has the same number of calories as a small apple

If you are in need of a few more recipes, especially those using fresh produce of the season, click here to download our FREE farmers market cookbook. One of my favorite recipes from the book is Carrot Oat Muffins.They are perfect for breakfast, snack time, or part of your meal. Make a big batch, and munch on them all week. Make an even bigger batch and freeze some for later. Enjoy!

Categories: Create A Quick Bread

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