June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, so why don’t you challenge yourself to eat more fresh produce this month!
Fruits and vegetables are nutrient-dense, which means they provide lots of vitamins and minerals with fewer calories. They also contain fiber to keep you feeling full, and antioxidants that may protect you against chronic diseases such as cancer or heart disease. The USDA MyPlate guidelines recommend filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. That means most of us should eat 1.5-2 cups of fruit per day AND 2-3 cups of vegetables per day. You don’t have to consume all fresh fruits and vegetables – canned, frozen, dried, and juices count as well.
Meeting the USDA guidelines may seem difficult at first, but making even a few small changes to your diet can help.
Here are some cool tips to try this summer:
Add fruit, such as bananas, strawberries, or blueberries, to your cereal or oatmeal in the morning.
Add extra vegetables to your sandwich at lunch, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, or avocado.
Instead of dipping pretzels or crackers in hummus, use carrot or celery sticks.
Sneak vegetables into your favorite dishes. For example, add mashed cauliflower to your macaroni and cheese for more nutrition and fewer calories.
Remember you can use your FNS/SNAP benefits to purchase fruits and vegetables at any store that accepts EBT cards. Many Farmers’ Markets also accept FNS/SNAP benefits, and this is a great way to find local, seasonal, and organic produce. You can use the SNAP Retail Locator to find a store or Farmer’s Market near you that accepts FNS/SNAP benefits.
Are you ready to take on the challenge of eating more fruits and vegetables this month? Here’s a delicious recipe to get you started. This recipe for Caribbean Tilapia with Pears and Carnival Roasted Potatoes contains ¾ cup of fruit and 1¾ cups of vegetables per serving – about half of the USDA’s recommended servings!
Easy Oven Packet Caribbean Tilapia With Pears and Carnival Roasted Potatoes
Carnival Roasted Potatoes
• 2 small red potatoes
• 2 small Yukon potatoes
• ½ yellow bell pepper, cut into 1” chunks
• 1 cup green beans (fresh, frozen, or canned)
• 1 Roma tomato, cut into wedges
• 2 tbsp chopped white onion
• ½tsp cumin
• ¼tsp salt (optional)
• 1 tbsp olive oil
Tilapia Oven Packets
• 4 4-oz (1 lb total) tilapia fillets, fresh, or frozen
• 1 tbsp salt-free Caribbean citrus seasoning blend
• 2 tsp olive oil
• 3 D’Anjou pears
Heat oven to 425 °F. Scrub potatoes under running water, cut into 1-inch chunks. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with other vegetables, seasonings, and olive oil. Spread mix in a 2-quart baking dish and place in oven. Roast until potatoes and other vegetables are tender, about 30-40 minutes. About 15minutes after the potato dish was placed in the oven, put in the cookie sheet with fish packets, prepared as follows: Brush fish with olive oil, coat with seasoning blend. Place each filet in the center of a square of aluminum foil (or substitute foil with parchment paper). Cut pears into quarters and core; slice into thin wedges (about 8-12 per pear). Top fish with pear wedges. Bring the foil over the fish and fruit. Fold and pinch the seams. Place foil packets on a cookie sheet. Bake about 20minutes, until tilapia is cooked to an internal temperature of 145 °F, confirmed with a food thermometer, and fruit is tender. To serve, carefully open the packet, slide contents onto individual serving plates, and add roasted vegetables.
With a little planning and creativity, eating more fruits and vegetables can be fun and delicious!
Recipe accessed from ChooseMyPlate.gov