The consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with reduced risk of some chronic diseases. However, though fruits and vegetables are powerhouses for many nutrients vital for good health, most people don’t eat enough. In fact, fruits and veggies are generally low in fat and calories and are major contributors of many nutrients including potassium, folate, magnesium, dietary fiber and vitamins A, C and K. it’s important to eat a colorful variety to get the nutrients you need, but that’s easy because fruits and veggies are available in many forms.
All Forms of Fruits & Veggies Matter
All forms of fruits and vegetables, including fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice count in a healthful diet. Here are some selection facts and tips …
- Frozen and canned are packed within hours of harvest, so the peak flavor and nutritional value are preserved.
- Look for no-sugar-added varieties when choosing frozen fruits.
- When choosing canned varieties, select no-sugar-added or those packed in 100% juice.
- Select canned and frozen vegetables packed with no or minimal added salt to help manage sodium intake.
Be Sure to Eat Your Colors!
In addition to eating too few fruits and vegetables, many people eat the same varieties most of the time. But it’s important to eat a wide variety since different ones provide different nutrients and phytonutrients. A simple way to do this is to select many different colors of fruits and vegetables.
Fruit & Veggie List by Color
- Fruits: avocados, green apples, green grapes, honeydew, kiwi and limes
- Vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, cucumbers, green beans, green bell pepper, green peas, kale, leafy greens, spinach and zucchini
- Fruits: cherries, cranberries, pomegranates, strawberries, raspberries and watermelon
- Vegetables: beets, red bell pepper, red potatoes, rhubarb and tomatoes
Yellow & Orange
- Fruits: apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruit, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, pineapple and tangerine
- Vegetables: butternut squash, carrots, corn, pumpkin, summer squash and sweet potatoes
Blue & Purple
- Fruits: blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, plums and raisins
- Vegetables: eggplant and purple cabbage
- Fruits: bananas, white peaches and white nectarines
- Vegetables: cauliflower, jicama, mushrooms, potatoes and white onions
Easy Ways to Include More Fruits & Veggies in Your Day
A good way to eat a wider variety of fruits and vegetables is to choose a particular one each week that you don’t regularly eat. Try it solo and in several different recipes during the week. For example, if kiwi is a fruit you don’t regularly eat, make a point to try it in different recipes (see below).
You can also try kiwi as a snack. Simply cut the washed kiwi in half lengthwise, scoop out the flesh with a spoon and enjoy. While enjoying your kiwi, appreciate the beauty of the gorgeous emerald green color of the inside the fruit and the nutrients it contains.
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
- 4 medium kiwi, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup pineapple tidbits, in juice and drained
- ½ cup finely chopped orange or red bell pepper
Combine lime juice, jalapeño, salt and cilantro in a small glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Secure lid and shake well to mix ingredients. Combine kiwi, pineapple tidbits and bell pepper in a glass bowl. Pour lime juice mixture over fruit and toss gently. This recipe makes 6 servings. Each serving contains approximately 58 calories and .3 grams of fat.
Warm Sliced Peach, Kiwi and Pecan Dessert
- 1 cup apple juice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 cups sliced no-sugar-added frozen peaches (defrosted), canned in 100% juice and drained, or fresh ripe unpeeled fresh peaches can be used if available
- 3 medium kiwis, (peeled and sliced crosswise into ½-inch slices)
- 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
Combine apple juice, cinnamon, cloves and peaches in a large saucepan. Bring to simmer and cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until liquid begins to thicken. Add kiwi slices and toss lightly 2 to 3 minutes until kiwi is warm. Spoon into 4 dessert dishes and sprinkle each with ½ tablespoon pecans. This recipe makes 4 servings. Each serving contains approximately 141 calories and 3 grams of fat.
Colorful Mixed Fruit Salad
- 3 medium kiwi, peeled and cut in eighths
- 2 medium bananas, sliced in ½-inch slices
- 2 cups red or purple seedless grapes cut in half lengthwise
- 15¼ ounce can unsweetened pineapple tidbits in its own juice
Drain pineapple and reserve juice. Combine kiwi, bananas, grapes and pineapple in a glass bowl. Pour reserved pineapple juice over fruit and toss lightly. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This recipe makes 8 servings and each serving contains approximately 77 calories and a trace amount of fat.