Health Advocate Blog

Easy ways to brighten your meals

Fruits and vegetables are nutritional powerhouses that are part of a healthy eating plan. While specific recommendations vary based on age, calorie intake and activity levels, most adults should be consuming at least 2 servings of fruits and 2.5 servings of vegetables each day. Eating many different colors of fruits and vegetables can help you get even more nutritional benefits from these foods. The differences in their colors are influenced by the types of nutrients they contain. Common colors of fruits and vegetables include blue, purple, red, orange, yellow, white and green. These tips can help you brighten your meals!

Stock your fruit bowl. Keep many colors of fruit on hand like bananas, apples, pears, peaches and plums–they’re great for a quick snack and a bright, edible decoration!

Assemble a bright snack. Wash, cut and bag cherry tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, carrots and celery as a vibrant pick-me-up.

Pick ready-made options. Pre-cut, pre-washed salad in a bag can make preparing a meal very easy.

Drink a smoothie. This is a great way to get multiple servings of fruits and vegetables at once. Try making a smoothie by blending three different colors–for example, a smoothie with spinach, pineapple and blueberries gets you green, yellow, and blue! Click here for tips.

Give your sandwich a new twist by adding cucumbers, sprouts, avocado, red and green peppers, apples, strawberries, melon slices or pears. With so many different combinations to choose from, you won’t be eating the same sandwich every day!

Double up. Cook two vegetables at once for additional flavor and color. Opt for broccoli and cauliflower, peas and carrots, peppers and onions, zucchini and eggplant, or spinach and tomatoes.

Try rainbow chard or rainbow carrots—they are both already multicolored! You can find them in yellow, orange, red, purple, green and white. Here are two tasty recipes to guide you in cooking it: Lemon-Garlic Rainbow Chard and Balsamic Honey Glazed Rainbow Carrots.

Stir fry veggies. Use one cup each of sliced red pepper and mushrooms, 2 cups of baby bok choy, ½ cup chopped onion, 1 tablespoon garlic, ¼ cup soy sauce and 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Choose a healthier side. When you’re dining out or ordering takeout, opt for a healthy salad as a side dish instead of choosing a fried side such as French fries or onion rings.

Buy and freeze. Frozen vegetables are quick and easy to prepare.  Just pop them in the microwave or steam/boil them on the stovetop. Choices include, but are certainly not limited to, peas, carrots, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli or a mixed medley…there are so many choices!

For more tips to help you improve your eating habits and make the most of your meals, visit the Nutrition section of our blog!