"Make sure you eat your fruits and vegetables."

This saying causes many children and adults to cringe every day.

There is no doubt people know that eating fruits and vegetables is good for optimal health.

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives it is easy to forget how important it can be to hit the mark when it comes to eating these nutrient packed super foods.

Here are five ways you can incorporate fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. Leave the thoughts of boring celery sticks behind and open your eyes to the possibilities.

These tips adapted from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics will help you succeed on your mission of living a healthier and happier life.

1.    Veggie kabobs

Salads are not the only vegetable side dish for your family dinners. Try grilling vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Even try adding some fruit like pineapple or mango to add a blast of flavor.

2.    Add fresh fruit to your morning oatmeal

You will never look at breakfast the same way again! Try adding colorful fruits such as strawberries and blueberries. If oatmeal is not your favorite, add fruit to your toaster waffles, or even to your favorite cold cereals.

3.    Get creative about the places you add your vegetables

If you enjoy meat loaf, mashed potatoes, or rice dishes try adding grated, shredded or chopped vegetables such as zucchini, spinach and carrots for a pop of color and taste.

4.    Reinvent your pizza

Instead of heading for the classic pepperoni, try toppings such as broccoli, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini. Not only can you incorporate vegetables into your pizza toppings, but did you know you could use vegetables to make a pizza crust? The recipe for this delicious pizza crust is featured below.

5.    Fruit Puree

Puree apples, berries, peaches or pears in a blender for a thick, sweet sauce. A delicious topping for your waffles, pancakes, and other breakfast favorites.

Consuming fruits and vegetables doesn't have to be a chore. Being creative will help make it easier for you to incorporate them into your daily routine. Think outside the box and remember there are so many possibilities out there beyond baby carrots and celery sticks.

Source:  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2012). Eat right: food, nutrition, and health tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: 20 ways to enjoy more fruits and vegetables. Retrieved from www.eatright.org.



Servings: 8

1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower*

1 egg

1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

½ teaspoon dried fennel

1 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried parsley

Heat oven to 450 F. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine cauliflower, egg, and mozzarella.

Press mixture evenly on the pan.

Sprinkle with fennel, oregano, and parsley.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Top with your favorite pizza toppings. Place under broiler at high heat until cheese is melted.

*After cauliflower is cooked and slightly cooled, shred cauliflower with cheese grater or potato ricer. A food processor also works.

Nutrition information per serving, 1/8 slice (crust only): 60 calories; 3.5g total fat; 2 g saturated fat; 0 g trans-fat; 30 mg cholesterol; 115 mg sodium; 3 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 5g protein.

(Recipe reprinted with permission from developer: Jamie Van Eaton; more of her recipes can be found at: http://yourlighterside.com/)

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