Cooking tips for healthier eating

Most people have heard that the new government guidelines recommend that all Americans eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. While that may seem like a lot, it is actually easier than you think to consume all the fruits and vegetables you need each and every day.

Learning to cook with the many fruits and vegetables available at the local grocery store is an essential skill, and it is very important for those who hope to reach the five a day guideline set down by the USDA.

Just about everyone uses a microwave these days, and microwave ovens can make cooking with vegetables and fruits easy and fun. Using a microwave pressure cooker or microwave proof bowl is a great way to quickly steam veggies. Cooking vegetables this way allows them to retain their all important nutrients.

The microwave is also a great way to cook baked potatoes, and micro waved baked potatoes retain more of their natural moisture, therefore needing less of that fat laden butter and sour cream. Combining free steamed broccoli with that great baked potato gets you almost halfway to your goal of five servings of vegetables and fruits per day.

The grill is another great way to meet your goal of five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Why not use green peppers, red peppers and pineapple chunks to create delicious and colorful vegetable kebobs? Whether served with lean cuts of beef or by themselves, vegetable kabobs are a great treat for the whole family. Vegetables are best grilled over medium hot coals.

Those with a blender handy can make some wonderful smoothies with the great fresh fruit from the grocery store. Delicious smoothies can be made using peaches, nectarines, crushed ice and fruit juice.

For a quick fruit salad, simply open a can of mandarin oranges, add a banana, an apple, and strawberries, blueberries or raisins. The total preparation time for this great fruit salad is all of five minutes.

Fruit skewers are even easier to make than grilled vegetable skewers. Fruit skewers can easily be made by stacking strawberries, melon slices, grapes and chunks of pineapples. A great dip can be made using nonfat plain or vanilla yogurt.

Another great way to meet your five a day fruit and vegetable goal is by making your own healthy salsa. There are some great recipes for salsa on the internet, using such great and healthy ingredients as tomatoes, avocados, red onions, mangoes, cilantro and lime.

For those looking for a fun way to enjoy fruits and vegetables, why not make some popsicles? Popsicles are not just for kids anymore, and pouring fruit or vegetable juice into a popsicle mold is a great way to make a delicious and nutritious snack. In addition, these healthy popsicles are a great way to get the kids interested in eating healthy at an early age. Since eating habits picked up in childhood can last a lifetime, that is very important.

In addition to these great fruit and vegetable serving suggestions, there are other ways to create memorable meals using your five a day criteria. For instance, adding broccoli florets, slices of carrots, cucumber slices, green peppers and red peppers is a great way to add crunch and zest to a bland pasta salad.

A plain old green salad can be perked up by including colorful fruits and vegetables like carrots, spinach leaves, tangerine slices, nectarines, grapes, slices of apples, pineapples and raisins. Not only to these additions add beauty and drama to any salad, but they get you closer to your goal of five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

For a simple, inexpensive and nutritious salad dressing, try such novel approaches as fruit juices, flavored vinegars and home grown herbs. Creating great tasting salads is very important for healthy eating, and avoiding high fat salad dressings is an important consideration for anyone concerned about their health.

Another great way to ensure you eat plenty of vegetables and fruits is to add those vegetables and fruits to the foods you already eat. That can be as simple as adding green peppers and red peppers to your pizza, adding pineapple chunks to your shish kebobs, adding bananas to your cereal or adding blueberries to your daily serving of yogurt.

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