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How to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables: Quick, Easy, Healthy Ideas

potato-vegetables-faceby Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D., C.D.E.

Vegetables. Yawn! Boooring.

What? No way! Eating your fruits and vegetables can be fun, creative and downright scrumptious! And, oh yeah, they can help you ward off a couple of little ailments called cancer and heart disease.

"Plus, fruits and vegetables are excellent for weight control," says Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., professor of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University and author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. Their high water and fiber content fill you up without a lot of calories.

Most adults should be eating about 4½ cups—nine servings—of produce every day. Sound impossible? Don't reach for the cheesecake just yet! Meeting this goal is as easy as tossing something green and crunchy into your soup pot.

Here are a few tips to spur your creativity. You can post them on your refrigerator or in your cabinets for some fresh inspiration every day.


  • A small glass of 100-percent fruit juice is the perfect start to an energizing breakfast.
  • Add sautéed mushrooms, onion, red and yellow bell peppers, or tomatoes to scrambled eggs or omelets.
  • Slice peaches, bananas, strawberries or other fresh fruit onto cereal.
  • Mix dried cranberries or raisins into oatmeal.
  • Blenderize a quick breakfast smoothie of frozen fruit, low-fat yogurt, and nutmeg or sweetener to taste.


  • Skewer up some pineapple, nectarines, zucchini, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes to go with grilled chicken or steak.
  • Double your vegetable servings.
  • Create your own salad bar, or build your own pizza. Try red, green, orange and yellow bell peppers; mushrooms; broccoli; spinach; zucchini; and pineapple cubes.
  • For dessert, blend frozen berries, juice, sweetener and vanilla extract in a food processor. Enjoy it like you would a sorbet.


  • Keep small plastic bags filled with single servings of cherries or grapes in your refrigerator to make fruit as easy to grab as a bag of chips.
  • Munch on cut-up raw vegetables and a low-fat dip.
  • Spread hummus on whole-grain crackers.


  • Start your meal with a broth-based, vegetable-loaded soup or a colorful mixed salad.
  • Ask for extra vegetables on sandwiches.
  • Trade French fries for a side salad or steamed vegetables.


  • Bring five pieces of fruit every Monday for pick-me-ups—and more energy than vending-machine fare. (Add a little protein, like peanut butter, to help stay full.)
  • Keep vegetable or tomato juice in the refrigerator for a fast but filling snack.
  • Store small amounts of nuts and dried fruit in your desk drawer for a quick energizer.
  • Have a friendly contest. Challenge each other to eat 4½ cups of fruits and veggies daily. Have a drawing for each person who records his or her intake for a month. See who can eat the most colors. Sample each other's recipes, including fruit-based desserts.


  • Skip the convenience-store snacks. Instead, run by the grocery store for some fresh or dried fruit or some precut veggies with low-fat dip.
  • Grab a piece of fruit on your way out the door.
  • If fast food is your only choice, pick a place with salads on the menu.


JILL WEISENBERGER, M.S., R.D., C.D.E., is a registered dietitian with National Clinical Research—Norfolk, in Virginia, and a consultant to the food industry with Jill Weisenberger Health Communications LLC.


Last updated and/or approved: September 2010.
Original article appeared in spring 2007 former print magazine. This health-care information is not meant as individual advice. Please see our disclaimer.
Comments (1)add comment
Food is fun!
written by Melanie Nelson , October 27, 2011

Thanks for the great tips - fantastic suggestions - but it was the potato dude that caught my eye. We thinking playing with your food can be a great way to build an affection for fruits and vegetables - especially for kids.

We have some help sheets on creating fun fooscapes:

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