Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Challenge Yourself: Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Grilled Peaches, Beans And Arugula With Warm Bacon Dressing

The first challenge is over! While the Avaglianos emerged as the winners, both families were ultimately victorious in getting healthier and losing weight.

You, too, can follow their lead. Use these tips as your guide to working more fruits and veggies into your meals:

How to Get Your Fill
★ Put it on top. Puree fruit to use on pancakes and waffles in place of syrup, and mash fresh berries to spread on toast instead of store-bought jam.
★ Bake it in. Mix frozen berries into muffin, pancake and quick-bread batters.

★ Refresh old meals. Put a new piece of produce, like chopped clementines or kale, into a familiar dish, such as your favorite salad.
★ Get saucy. Dipping veggies in low-fat “sauces” makes produce more appealing—especially to kids. Try marinara, vinaigrettes, low-fat ranch or slightly sweetened yogurt.

★ Follow the half-plate rule. If you have a choice of two sides when you’re out for dinner or lunch, opt for two veggies rather than one veggie and rice, bread or pasta.
★ Start on Sunday. Roast large amounts of veggies on the weekend and use them as no-fuss side dishes for dinner throughout the week.
★ Bring fruit to the dinner table. Make a fruit salsa with mangoes or peaches to serve with grilled meat. (Get our recipe for the grilled peach and bacon salad, shown above, here.)

Fruit and Vegetable Daily Serving Guidelines
Confused about how much produce to feed your child or yourself? Here, the latest recommendations for those who average less than 30 minutes of activity per day:

Fruit Guidelines
Kids (9–13 years old): 1.5 cups daily
Girls (14–18 years old): 1.5 cups daily
Boys (14–18 years old): 2 cups daily
Women (31–50 years old): 1.5 cups daily
Men (31–50 years old): 2 cups daily

Vegetable Guidelines
Kids (9–13 years old): 2 to 2.5 cups daily
Girls (14–18 years old): 2.5 cups daily
Boys (14–18 years old): 3 cups daily
Women (31–50 years old): 2.5 cups daily
Men (31–50 years old): 3 cups daily

What’s been your most effective way to work fruits and veggies into your diet? Share in the comments below.

Challenge Yourself: Make Guilt-Free Pizza at Home

Tropical Pizza

As Peggy noted earlier today, you don’t have to give up pizza if you’re trying to lose weight. You just have to be smart about the crust and toppings.

Opt for thin crust over stuffed or deep dish. Go easy on the cheese, but pile on veggies–I love peppers, onions, broccoli, spinach, arugula and tomatoes on my pies. If you’re craving meat, stick to grilled chicken, rather than sausage or meatballs.

Try making one of these healthy pizza recipes tonight:

Tropical Pizza

Taco Pizza

Smoky Vegetable Pizza

Got any tips for making healthy pizza at home? Share in the comments below.

Challenge Yourself: Make Healthy Mexican Meals

Grilled Vegetable Fajitas

Tiffany’s been making Taco Night healthier at the Lehman home. With some guidance from her nutritionist, she’s cooked meatless quinoa and bean tacos on whole grain tortillas.

You, too, can also enjoy lighter versions of your favorite Latin fare. Check out these great recipes for no-guilt tacos, fajitas, empanadas, enchilladas and more.

How do you make Mexican meals healthier? Share in the comments below.

Challenge Yourself: Try New Fruits and Veggies

Multicolored (Party) Cauliflower

Peggy has been eating new fruits and vegetables, thanks to her weekly shipments from Melissa’s Produce. Her family’s current favorites include kiwi berries, pomegranate seeds and baby cucumbers.

It’s easy to fall into a rut of always buying the same fruits and veggies. (I’m guilty of over-relying on bananas, apples, avocados, spinach and frozen peas.) And while it’s okay to have a few healthy recipes you cook regularly, adding a new fruit or veggie to a dish can make dinnertime more exciting–how much fun would it be to serve multicolored cauliflower, like in the photo above? Check out other interesting veggies you can work into your diet here.

What new fruit or veggie have you tried and loved recently? Share in the comments below.

Challenge Yourself: Healthy Eating Tips for Busy Moms

Today Tiffany confessed her main reason for participating in the Healthy Family Challenge: Her mother had triple bypass surgery at age 60 and her husband’s mother died of a stroke at 50. With that family history in mind, Tiffany’s motivated to reduce her risk of a similar fate by losing weight. As she said, “I can’t do that [die prematurely] to my husband or my children.”

With that in mind, she’s well on her way to better health. If you’re also a busy mom making the change to a healthier lifestyle, try these six totally doable, healthy eating tips from Family Circle‘s health director.

Why’s your main motivation for getting healthy? Share in the comments below.