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Fill Your Days With Fruits and Vegetables

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Black Bean and Corn Quesadilla with Watermelon and Orange Salad
Watermelon Triangles with Spinach Salad Tossed with a Pineapple Chile Vinaigrette and Fruity Couscous Salad
Fruity Couscous Salad

(Family Features) - We may think we're getting enough fruits and vegetables in our diet, but research shows that only one in five Americans is eating the recommended number of fruits and vegetables a day for better health. Many of us need to double the amount of fruits and vegetables we currently eat.

We know that eating more fruits and vegetables is good for us and our families, but how do we overcome obstacles like picky eaters, limited time, and tight budgets to eat more?

Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., R.D., heads Produce for Better Health Foundation and offers easy tips on how to include fruits and vegetables at every eating occasion.

"Remember that all forms of fruits and vegetables count toward your daily amount - canned, fresh, frozen, dried and 100% juice," says Dr. Pivonka. "Keep your pantry stocked, your freezer full, and refrigerator packed with all forms of fruits and vegetables so they are always handy."

Pivonka says there are many ways to enjoy a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the day: "Add fruit to your morning cereal or vegetables to your omelet, have a salad for lunch, try two different vegetables with dinner and fruit for dessert.

Substitute nutrient-dense oranges and watermelon for high-fat snacks like chips and chocolate bars. And limit your intake of saturated fat by including fruits and vegetables with monounsaturated fat in your diet, like fresh California avocados and California black ripe olives."

For moms with busy lifestyles and kids who are picky eaters, Pivonka has this advice: "If kids help with the cooking, they are more inclined to try new fruits and vegetables. At my house, we make meal planning and preparation a family activity."

Here are two quick and easy recipes that the kids will enjoy preparing with you.

For more information about the ingredients featured in these recipes, visit www.avocado.org, www.calolive.org, www.mealtime.org, www.sunkist.com, and www.watermelon.org. For more recipes featuring fruits and vegetables, visit www.5aday.org.

Black Bean and Corn Quesadilla with Watermelon and Orange Salad

  • 2 large Sunkist oranges
  • 3 1/2 cups chopped watermelon
  • 1 cup canned chunk pineapple, packed in juice
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 (11 inch) wheat tortillas
  • 1 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed and drained
  • 6 large canned California black ripe olives, each sliced into 4 slices
  • 12 slices of fresh California avocado, about 3/4 of avocado
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • 6 tablespoons fat-free sour cream

    1. Peel the oranges, break into segments, cut each segment into 4 pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Add the watermelon, pineapple, and cranberries toss gently. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
    2. Place the tortillas on cutting board. On one side of each arrange 2 tablespoons of cheese, 1/4 cup black beans, 3 tablespoons of sweet corn, and 6 olive slices. Top with 2 tablespoons of cheese. Fold over tortilla to make a half moon.
    3. Repeat to make 4.
    4. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. Add two quesadillas and brown for 3 minutes. Turn over and brown other side, 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan and cook remaining two quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into 3 triangles. On each serving plate arrange 2 quesadilla triangles, and top with 2 avocado slices, 2 tablespoons salsa, and 1 tablespoon sour cream. Serve approximately 1 cup watermelon salad with each plate.

Preparation Time
20 minutes

Calories: 357g     Total Fat: 8g
Cholesterol: 61mg     Protein: 15g
Carbohydrates: 61g     Sodium: 415mg

Serves 6

Watermelon Triangles with Spinach Salad Tossed with a Pineapple Chile Vinaigrette and Fruity Couscous Salad

  • 4 large slices watermelon, cut into triangles, 16 pieces
  • 6 cups spinach leaves
  • 1 large Sunkist orange, peeled and sliced into 8 thin rounds
  • 1/2 fresh California avocado, cut into 8 slices, cut again into cubes
  • 16 large canned California black ripe olives
  • 1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened pineapple juice, reserved from couscous recipe
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 2 cups fruity couscous salad, recipe follows

    1. Preparation Time: 20 minutes
    2. On each serving plate arrange 4 watermelon triangles on the back of the plates. Arrange 1 1/2 cups of spinach in front of the watermelon, top with 2 slices of orange, 1/4 of the avocado cubes, 4 olives, and 1 tablespoon black beans. In a small bowl whisk together the pineapple juice, chili powder, and mayonnaise. Drizzle salads with 2 tablespoons of dressing. Mold the couscous salad in a 1/2 -cup measuring cup, un-mold onto salad plate. Repeat for remaining 3 salads.

Calories: 361g     Total Fat: 11g
Cholesterol: 3mg     Protein: 6g
Carbohydrates: 65g     Sodium: 400mg

Serves 4

Fruity Couscous Salad

  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup couscous
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 cup canned chunk pineapple, packed in juice (keep juice aside)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons light raspberry vinaigrette

    1. In a small saucepan bring the pineapple juice and water to a boil. Add the couscous, cranberries and raisins.
    2. Cover pan and turn off heat. Steep for 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and place into a mixing bowl to cool for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Preparation Time
15 minutes

Calories: 166g     Total Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 0mg     Protein: 2g
Carbohydrates: 37g     Sodium: 73mg

Serves 4

SOURCE: Produce for Better Health Foundation

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