Planning meals around fruits and vegetables

Plan your meals and grocery shopping in advance to add more fruits and vegetables to your plate.

We have heard MyPlate’s recommendation that we should fill half our plate with fruits and vegetables. Can this be challenging to do at times? Yes, it can. One way to help you achieve your goal of filling those plates with nutritious fruits and vegetables is to start your planning before going to the grocery store. Not only can this strategy help you stretch your food budget while shopping, but it can allow you to make a plan to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Here are a few easy tips to try:

  • Browse your local grocery store ads to find fruits and vegetables that are in season and on sale.
  • Take advantage of your local farm markets before they close for the season to enjoy locally grown, fresh produce.
  • If fresh fruits and vegetables are out of season or too expensive for your budget, watch for sales on frozen or canned goods, and stock up. These items are great staples to have in a pantry for late fall and winter seasons as well.
  • After determining which fruits and vegetables you will purchase, you can begin to build your meals around those items.
  • Try shopping for meals that include lots of fruits and vegetables. Think about trying stir-fry, salads and soups.
  • Think outside of the box. Add shredded or pureed vegetables into sauces, casseroles or put extra veggies into stews and fruit into salads. Experiment with new ways to enjoy fruits and vegetables. Use zucchini or spaghetti squash instead of pasta.

Michigan State University Extension continues to recommend you make a goal to increase your daily fruit and vegetable intake. Small changes can lead to great health benefits. Planning for your fruit and vegetable filled meals while shopping is a great way to help you reach that goal.

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