Fruits and Veggies: Why You Need to Eat More

Here are some other tips for getting more fruits and veggies into your diet -- and especially into your kids:

Make it easy: Get precut vegetables and fruits (carrots, grape tomatoes, pineapple chunks, melon) and bagged salad greens. If you can open a bag, the salad is made.

Be a role model for your kids, for your mate. They need to see you eating fruits and vegetables daily, and at each meal.

Eat color: Anything with deep reds, dark greens, purples or oranges are superfoods.

Blaze a trail: Try a new fruit or vegetable, and get reacquainted with ones you like but seldom eat. Do a taste test of several types of apples or pears, not just the same ones all the time.

Keith-Thomas Ayoob is an associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

Get kids involved: They have a natural curiosity about what they help prepare. Even little ones can get familiar with veggies by breaking up green beans.

Add beans to ANY dish and you have a healthier meal. Doesn't matter what type of bean, they're all incredible.

Can't commit? Have "no-commitment" fruits on the counter instead of chips and cookies. A bowl of grapes, easy-peel tangerines, even cherry tomatoes make for healthy impulse eating because they're good finger food when you want a small bite.

Got a grill? Then grill veggies and save time and clean up. Red and green peppers, cauliflower, green and yellow squash are favorites. Just put a bunch in a plastic bag with some olive oil, give it a shake and throw on the grill.

Check out the Web site www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org for more ways to get your 4½ cups a day.

Bottom line: The science is in, the benefits are clear, and the taste and variety are limitless. Doesn't get much better than that. Pass the purple broccoli, please.

Keith-Thomas Ayoob is an associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

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