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Live the Pair Up Promise: Add Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet

Fruits and vegetables are low in fat and calories, and provide fiber and other key nutrients we need to stay healthy. They can also add color, flavor and texture to any meal. They are an important part of a meal plan that can help prevent diabetes and high blood pressure, the two leading causes of kidney disease.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, most Americans should eat more than three cups—and for some, up to six cups—of vegetables and fruits each day. Here are 10 creative ways to improve your meals by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet, every day.

  1. Fire up the grill. Cook vegetables and fruits on the grill. Use a skewer to grill mushrooms, carrots, peppers or potatoes. Just brush lightly with oil to keep them from drying out. You can grill fruit, too! Try grilling peaches, pineapple, or mangos to add great flavor to your meal.
  2. Expand the flavor of your casseroles. Liven up any casserole recipe by mixing in vegetables such as sautéed onions, peas, pinto beans or tomatoes.
  3. Planning something Italian? Enrich any pasta dish by adding extra vegetables. Slip some peppers, spinach, red beans, onions or cherry tomatoes into your tomato sauce. Veggies provide texture and low-calorie bulk to make your meal more satisfying.
  4. Get creative with your salad. Shredded carrots, strawberries, spinach, watercress, orange segments or sweet peas are great add-ins that can turn an ordinary green salad into something more fun and flavorful. Be creative!
  5. Salad bars aren’t just for salads. Instead of dessert, grab some sliced fruit from the salad bar when dining out. Substitute fruit’s natural sweetness for the high-calorie desserts typically offered in restaurants.
  6. Get in on the stir-frying fun. Stir-frying is quick and healthy way to enjoy vegetables like broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas, mushrooms or green beans. Try something new!
  7. Add them to your sandwiches. Whether you make a sandwich or a wrap, add sliced tomatoes, romaine lettuce or avocado for extra flavor.
  8. Be creative with your baked goods. Add apples, bananas, blueberries or pears to your favorite muffin recipe for a treat.
  9. Make a tasty fruit smoothie. Blend strawberries, blueberries or raspberries with frozen bananas and 100 percent fruit juice for a delicious frozen fruit smoothie.
  10. Liven up an omelet. Vegetables can boost the color and flavor! Chop, sauté and add vegetables to the egg as it cooks. Be creative and combine vegetables, such as mushrooms, spinach, onions or bell peppers.

Source: MyPlate.gov

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