It’s National Fruits & Veggies Month and we are ready for a plant party! Fruits and veggies appear in our meals every day, some more than others, but how can we incorporate them more frequently? They can take on many forms, cooking methods, flavors, and varieties, but they are always delicious and nutritious.
Sometimes getting more fruits and veggies into our days means switching things up a bit from our typical patterns. Maybe it is incorporating more dried fruit into snacks or adding more veggies into an entrée. Keeping things new and fresh helps keep us interested and prevents boredom that can lead to reaching for other options.
Try these tips and recipes for inspiration during National Fruits & Veggies Month and all year long!
After dinner we want to relax and not be in the kitchen cleaning. That is where one-pot/pan meals are the perfect dinner. You can cook your protein and veggies in one pot/pan and make a very filling meal. These meals usually take less time as well, which is always a plus in our busy lives. I really enjoy this recipe for a Summer Garden Chicken Skillet because it incorporates protein, multiple veggies and you can serve it with a whole grain. You can even make it in the winter and swap out any veggies that may be more seasonal.
All Forms Count
I always like to remind customers that fruits and veggies do not have to be only fresh options. They can be all forms including fresh, canned, frozen, dried and 100% juice. Depending on cost, convenience, time and intended use you may want to choose different varieties of produce for different recipes. Sometimes it nice to have fruits and veggies on hand that are not going to spoil as quickly. This recipe for homemade Breakfast Bars gives you a chance to have a better-for-you granola bar. It uses dried apricots to add texture, flavor and a burst of color. Make them ahead, keeping in the fridge, and grab for quick fuel.
Family Favorite Meals
There are lots of “classic” family favorite meals including pizza, mac & cheese, tacos, etc. so why not use those to incorporate more fruits and veggies. Kids and adults alike will enjoy their favorite meals with a few more nutrients added. These meals make it easy to throw in additional produce whether it is cooked down in a sauce or chopped up as a topping. Take advantage of the meals your family loves and give them the extra boost of produce they need. Pizza is a top choice for many and can be made on a variety of produce items but give this recipe for Pepperoni Pizza Pepper Bites a try. Everyone can make their own with their favorite toppings for a fun family dinner.
We all have our favorite recipes and go-to fruits and veggies we buy when grocery shopping, but what about switching it up and trying new recipes? Take a look online or ask friends and family for ideas to switch up your go-to recipes. For example, we all know and love guacamole with avocado, tomatoes, onion, and jalapeños, but what if we added peas? Sounds odd, but pairs very well. You just have to think outside the box a bit. Give our recipe for Super Guacamole a try.
Many times fruits and veggies are eaten raw, sautéed or roasted. Think of other cooking methods that may bring out the natural flavors of the produce. You may have seen veggies like corn or zucchini grilled, but have you ever had grilled fruit? The high heat of the grill caramelizes the natural sugars in fruit and makes it even more flavorful. A great place to start is grilling peaches. Make a simple sweet treat like Grilled Peaches with Shortbread Crumble for your next get-together.
Dips are usually thought of as an accompaniment, but by adding in fruits and veggies we can make them the star of the show. You can make a sweet or savory dip, salsa or topping and add it to your favorite meals. Kids especially enjoy dips and it can help them to eat more foods, especially fruits and veggies. This Tomatillo-Avocado Dip is simple and delicious.
Remember this September, National Fruits and Veggie Month, and all year to celebrate and incorporate fruits and veggies into your diet. They are packed full of nutrients and will help keep us going strong all year long.