With mindful planning and fresh ingredients, you can improve your family’s health one fruit and vegetable at a time.
Eating a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables benefits many aspects of health, including:
- Your weight—Low in cholesterol, fat and calories, most vegetables contain high amounts of fiber, which keeps you full after meals.
- Your heart—Dietary fiber helps lower cholesterol levels, and eating fruits and veggies high in potassium, such as sweet potatoes, bananas and tomatoes, can help you regulate your blood pressure.
- Your skin and vision—Vitamin A—found in carrots, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, tomatoes, cantaloupe, grapefruit and other brightly colored fruits and vegetables—can help boost your nighttime vision. According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin A also helps maintain healthy skin, eyes and teeth, and it offers protection from the free radicals that may contribute to chronic diseases, including cancer, and the signs of aging.
- Your immune system—Berries, peppers, citrus fruits and greens are rich in vitamin C, which can boost immunity and also protect against free radicals.
Most nutritional guidelines recommend eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily. To fine-tune this recommendation based on your sex and age, consult these fruit and vegetable guidelines at choosemyplate.gov.
Recipe: Feta, Sun-Dried Tomato and Spinach Fettuccine
Satisfy nutritional guidelines and picky eaters of all ages by adding chopped vegetables to pizza, omelets, pasta and other family favorites. Get started with this meatless pasta recipe.
- 1 (9-ounce) package of spinach fettuccine noodles
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 cup yellow peppers, chopped
- 2 tablespoons scallions, chopped
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 4 tomatoes, sliced
- 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Cook noodles according to the package’s instructions. In a frying pan, heat olive oil and sauté carrots on medium heat until tender and crisp. Add peppers and scallions and sauté for 4 minutes. Once pasta has finished cooking, add the carrots, peppers, scallions and sun-dried tomatoes, and mix well. Plate the pasta, and top each serving with tomato slices and feta cheese.
Nutritional information per serving
Makes 4 servings
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Better Health Foundation, morematters.org.