by Celina Parás, MSc, RDN, LD.
Nutrition Education Specialist, CHEF
Fruits and veggies are an important component of everyday meals. They are low in fat and calories, and packed with essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Fruits and veggies are also a source of phytonutrients, which are components that are responsible for giving plant foods their bright colors and may also promote health. To ensure you get all of the essential nutrients, try choosing from a variety of fruits & vegetables from different colors, aim for at least 5-colors a day from the many types available including:
RED: Apples, cherries, cranberries, guava, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, beets, red bell peppers, radishes, tomatoes.
ORANGE/YELLOW: Apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruits, lemons, mangos, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pineapples, butternut squash, carrots, corn, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, yellow bell peppers, yellow squash.
GREEN: Avocados, green apples, green grapes, honeydew melon, kiwi, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, green bell peppers, kale, leeks, okra, spinach, zucchini.
BLUE/PURPLE: Blackberries, blueberries, figs, grapes, plums, eggplant, purple cabbage, purple tomatoes.
WHITE/BEIGE: Bananas, pears, cauliflower, garlic, jicama, mushrooms, potatoes, turnips.
Tips for parents:
- Mix it up: fresh, frozen and canned all fruits and vegetables provide essential nutrients. Frozen & canned fruits and vegetables are usually budget-friendly and practical. Select frozen fruits and vegetables closest to their natural state (i.e. no added sugars and sauces). Try rinsing and draining canned vegetables to remove excess sodium.
- Keep it simple: sometimes fresh fruits and vegetables can be forgotten in the fridge. Try rinsing them as soon as you are back from the store and place it in a nice bowl that is easy to reach in your fridge or kitchen. Precut fruits & veggies and place them in resealable snack size bags for grab-and-go snacks.
- Roast away: roasting vegetables caramelizes the natural sugars and enhances their flavor. Try roasting cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, onions, and sweet potatoes.
- Homemade dips: try making yogurt-based dips to combine with fruits and veggies. Try out the following CHEF-approved recipes!
Try these amazing CHEF-approved recipes!