Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables: Adding Fruit

Earlier this year, USDA unveiled the new MyPlate model, replacing MyPyramid.  While there has been some disagreement and confusion over the new model since it was revealed, this streamlined “How to” of healthy eating sums up the basics quite nicely: Eat fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low or non-fat dairy and drink water. 

Now, how do we take this from words on a page or statements in a press conference to the actual food you are cooking in your kitchen and eating at restaurants?  Each week we’ll be giving you new tips, personal insight and recipes to make your plate look more like MyPlate… one step at a time.

Adding fruit to your plate can be an easy first step.  It’s bright and colorful and can be a sweet treat.  Here are some tips to introduce fruit to your plate and, if it’s already there, make it even more appealing.

If your idea of fruit is the strawberry jam on your sandwich, you’ll need to start exploring. 

  • If you don’t know what kind of fruit you like, stand in the produce section of the store or at your  local farmers market and pick three different kinds to try.  Don’t be afraid to ask about taste, texture and the best ways to eat the fruit.  Repeat as needed to find your favorites.
  • If you just don’t like the fruits you’ve tried, start by experimenting with something different.  It may be a new kind of fruit or a new preparation method.  For example, fresh apples may not be your thing, but have you tried those healthy little jewels baked with a dusting of cinnamon?  Berries or banana added to yogurt can contribute taste, texture and the nutrition you need.

If you regularly start your morning with a piece of fruit plucked from the bowl or snack on fresh fruit during the day, you may be looking for some tantalizing new ways to add it to your plate.

  • Mix and match fruits with the other items on your plate.  Add grapes and oranges to salads, chop up mango for a fresh salsa over salmon or use sliced apples or pears and low-fat cheese to create your next grilled-cheese sandwich.
  • Make it your mission to discover a new fruit.  Stop by your local farmer’s market, talk to friends and family and surf the web to find fruits you haven’t tried yet.  You may know every variety of apple on the market, but have you savored star fruit yet?

Today is the day to start adding a wider variety of fruit to your healthy diet.  How are you going to enjoy it?