Open Accessibility Menu

A Healthy Plate is a Happy Plate: 20 Ways to Enjoy More Fruits & Veggies

Author: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics staff registered dietitian nutritionists

Building a healthy plate is easy when you make half your plate fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great way to add color, flavor, and texture plus vitamins, minerals, and fiber. All this is packed in fruits and vegetables that are low in calories and fat. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal.

Table of healthy food

Try the following tips to enjoy more fruits and vegetables every day:

Variety abounds when using vegetables as a pizza topping. Try broccoli, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and zucchini.

Mix up a breakfast smoothie made with low-fat milk, frozen strawberries, and a banana. 

Young woman drinking a green smoothie

Make a veggie wrap with roasted vegetables and low-fat cheese rolled in a whole-wheat tortilla.

Try crunchy vegetables instead of chips with your favorite low-fat salad dressing for dipping.

Grill colorful vegetable kabobs packed with tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms, and onions.

Add color to salads with baby carrots, grape tomatoes, spinach leaves, or mandarin oranges.*

Keep cut vegetables handy for mid-afternoon snacks, side dishes, lunch box additions, or a quick nibble while waiting for dinner. Ready-to-eat favorites: red, green, or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas, or whole radishes.

Place colorful fruit where everyone can easily grab something for a snack-on-the- run. Keep a bowl of fresh, just ripe whole fruit in the center of your kitchen or dining table. 

Children helping dad with a tie in the kitchen during breakfast

Get saucy with fruit. Puree apples, berries, peaches, or pears in a blender for a thick, sweet sauce on grilled or broiled seafood or poultry, or on pancakes, French toast, or waffles.

Stuff an omelet with vegetables. Turn any omelet into a hearty meal with broccoli, squash, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, or onions with low-fat sharp cheddar cheese.

“Sandwich” in fruits and vegetables. Add pizzazz to sandwiches with sliced pineapple, apple, peppers, cucumber, and tomato as fillings.

Wake up to fruit. Make a habit of adding fruit to your morning oatmeal, ready-to-eat cereal, yogurt, or toaster waffle.

Top a baked potato with beans and salsa or broccoli and with low-fat cheese. 

Small baked potatoes in foil

Microwave a cup of vegetable soup as a snack or with a sandwich for lunch.

Add grated, shredded, or chopped vegetables such as zucchini, spinach, and carrots to lasagna, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, pasta sauce, and rice dishes.

Make fruit your dessert: Slice a banana lengthwise and top with a scoop of low-fat frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of chopped nuts.

Stock your freezer with frozen vegetables to steam or stir-fry for a quick side dish. 

Bags of frozen veggies

Make your main dish a salad of dark, leafy greens and other colorful vegetables. Add chickpeas or edamame (fresh soybeans). Top with low-fat dressing.*

Fruit on the grill: Make kabobs with pineapple, peaches, and banana. Grill on low heat until the fruit is hot and slightly golden.

Dip: Whole wheat pita wedges in hummus, baked tortilla chips in salsa, strawberries or apple slices in low-fat yogurt, or graham crackers in applesauce.

pita wedges with hummus

*See “Color Your Plate with Salad” at for more tips on creating healthy salads

For a nutrition consultation with our dietitians, please call 504-702-5700 to schedule an appointment.
To learn more about healthy lifestyle choices, visit our new Primary Care Center at 2003 Tulane Avenue or

For information about the UMCNO Cancer Kitchen, which happens every other month at Simplee Gourmet, email Laura Kerns or calls her a 504-702-3691.