Liven up your food with these healthy tips

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Love your heart not only during the month of February, but all year long.

Start off eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy eating style may lower the risk of heart disease. One of the main things you can do is to liven up your meals with vegetables and fruits.

You can discover the many benefits of adding vegetables and fruits to your meals. They are low in fat and calories, while providing fiber and other key nutrients. Most Americans should eat more than 3 cups — and for some, up to 6 cups — of vegetables and fruits each day. Vegetables and fruits don’t just add nutrition to meals. They can also add color, flavor and texture.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Explore creative ways to bring healthy foods to your table by following these 10 tips to improve your meals with vegetables and fruits.

1. Fire up the grill

Use the grill to cook vegetables and fruits. Try grilling mushrooms, carrots, peppers or potatoes on a kabob skewer. Brush with oil to keep them from drying out. Grilled fruits like peaches, pineapple or mangos add great flavor to a cookout.

2. Expand the flavor of your casseroles

Mix vegetables such as sautéed onions, peas, pinto beans or tomatoes into your favorite dish for that extra flavor.

3. Planning something Italian?

Add extra vegetables to your pasta dish. Slip some peppers, spinach, red beans, onions or cherry tomatoes into your traditional tomato sauce. Vegetables provide texture and low-calorie bulk that satisfies.

4. Get creative with your salad

Toss in shredded carrots, strawberries, spinach, watercress, orange segments or sweet peas for a flavorful, fun salad.

5. Salad bars aren’t just for salads

Try eating sliced fruit from the salad bar as your dessert when dining out. This will help you avoid any baked desserts that are high in calories.


6. Get in on the stir-frying fun

Try something new! Stir-fry your veggies like broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, or green beans — for a quick-and-easy addition to any meal.

7. Add them to your sandwiches

Whether it is a sandwich or wrap, vegetables make great additions to both. Try sliced tomatoes, romaine lettuce or avocado on your everyday sandwich or wrap 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

For dessert, blend strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries with frozen bananas and 100 percent fruit juice for a delicious frozen fruit smoothie.

10. Liven up an omelet

Boost the color and flavor of your morning omelet with vegetables. Simply chop, sauté and add them to the egg as it cooks. Try combining different vegetables, such as mushrooms, spinach, onions or bell peppers.

See more tips for eating more fruits and vegetables at or call the Escambia County Extension Office at 251-867-7760 and ask for a copy of other publications to help you eat healthier.