Liven up your meals with vegetables and fruits: 10 tips to improve your meals with vegetables and fruits

Discover the many benefits of adding vegetables and fruits to your meals. They are low in fat and calories, while providing fiber and other key nutrients. Most Americans should eat more than 3 cups—and for some, up to 6 cups—of vegetables and fruits each day. Vegetables and fruits don’t just add nutrition to meals. They can also add color, flavor, and texture. Explore these creative ways to bring healthy foods to your table.

1. Fire up the grill

Use the grill to cook vegetables and fruits. Try grilling mushrooms, carrots, peppers, or potatoes on a kabob skewer. Brush with oil to keep them from drying out. Grilled fruits like peaches, pineapple, or mangos add great flavor to a cookout.

2. Expand the flavor of your casseroles

Mix vegetables such as sauteed onions, peas, pinto beans, or tomatoes into your favorite dish for that extra flavor.

3. Planning something Italian?

Add extra vegetables to your pasta dish. Slip some peppers, spinach, red beans, onions, or cherry tomatoes into your traditional tomato sauce. Vegetables provide texture and low-calorie bulk that satisfies.

4. Get creative with your salad

Toss in shredded carrots, strawberries, spinach, watercress, orange segments, or sweet peas for a flavorful, fun salad.

5. Salad bars aren’t just for salads

Try eating sliced fruit from the salad bar as your dessert when dining out. This will help you avoid any baked desserts that are high in calories.

6. Get in on the stir-frying fun

Try something new! Stir-fry your veggies—like broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, or green beans—for a quick-and-easy addition to any meal.

7. Add them to your sandwiches

Whether it is a sandwich or wrap, vegetables make great additions to both. Try sliced tomatoes, romaine lettuce, or avocado on your everyday sandwich or wrap for extra flavor.

8. Be creative with your baked goods

Add apples, bananas, blueberries, or pears to your favorite muffin recipe for a treat.

9. Make a tasty fruit smoothie

For dessert, blend strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries with frozen bananas and 100% fruit juice for a delicious frozen fruit smoothie.

10. Liven up an omelet

Boost the color and flavor of your morning omelet with vegetables. Simply chop, saute, and add them to the egg as it cooks. Try combining different vegetables, such as mushrooms, spinach, onions, or bell peppers.

Crunchy Vegetable Wraps

Serving Size: 1/2 tortilla each

Yield: 4 servings


  • 4 tablespoons low-fat cream cheese, whipped
  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 1/2 teaspoon ranch seasoning mix
  • 1/4 cup broccoli, washed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 cup zucchini, washed and cut into small strips
  • 1/4 cup yellow summer squash, washed and cut into small strips
  • 1/2 tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chives or green onions, finely chopped


  1. In a small bowl, stir ranch seasoning into cream cheese, chill.
  2. Wash and chop vegetables.
  3. Steam broccoli in microwave for 1 minute with 1 tablespoon of water.
  4. Spread cream cheese onto each flour tortilla, staying 1 inch from edge. Sprinkle vegetables over cream cheese. Roll each tortilla tightly.
  5. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving. (The wrap will hold its shape better.) Slice into circles with a sharp knife and serve.


Be creative. Try different vegetables, herbs and spices. Examples: green beans, lettuce, radishes, corn; dill, oregano, basil, mint, curry or chili powder.

  • You can substitute flavored cream cheeses – chive, herb or vegetable.
  • Try a sweet cream cheese and add fruit to your wrap for a different twist.
  • This wrap is great with soup or salad or served as a cool summer appetizer!

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: Total Calories: 103, Total Fat: 3 grams, Total Saturated Fat: 1 gram, Total Trans Fat: 0 grams, Total Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5 grams, Total Carbohydrate: 15 grams, Total Protein: 3 grams, Percentage of Calories from Fat: 19, Total Cholesterol: 5 milligrams, Total Dietary Fiber: 1 gram, Sodium: 250 milligrams, Vitamin D: 0 percent, Vitamin C: 22 percent, Vitamin A: 29 percent, Folate: 9 percent, Calcium: 6 percent, Iron: 5 percent.

Source: Adapted from: Connecticut Food Policy Council

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4/1/2020 6:22:24 PM
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