3 Ways to Get 5 a Day

Strategies to help you eat more fruits and veggies

If your family is trying to live a healthy lifestyle, one of the best things you can do is eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. If you have a reluctant eater, appeal to his curious side and approach the goal as an ongoing experiment with food using these three strategies.

Celery sticks with peanut butter and cream cheese

Try a smoothie – or dozens

With seemingly endless combinations of ingredients to choose, everyone can find something they like. Many smoothies use plain Greek yogurt or dairy alternatives like almond or coconut milk as a base, but that isn’t a requirement. Try blending fruits and veggies with a simple cup of ice or ice and fruit juice instead.

Try popular flavor pairs like banana and strawberries, mixed berries, or spinach and blueberries. Or get more creative with pineapple and mango, watermelon and blueberries, or raspberries and kiwi. The only limit is your imagination. You can loosely follow this guide:
● 2-3 parts fruit or vegetables (2-3 cups)
● 1 to 1-1/2 parts liquid (1 to 1-1/2 cups)
● 1/2 part yogurt, ice, or another thickener (1/2 cup)

For more smoothie-making tips, see Vegetable and fruit smoothies: simple and healthy at home or at school

Vary the cooking methods

Veggie tray with dip

If you’ve only tried a vegetable prepared one way, you barely know that vegetable at all! Some people dislike steamed broccoli but love it roasted in the oven, dislike sautéed zucchini and asparagus but love both on the grill—together or separate.

Before anyone declares, “I don’t like __,” insist they try it multiple different ways: raw, steamed, roasted, grilled, sautéed, or stir fried…perhaps topped with a sprinkle of olive oil or cheese or soy sauce or lemon pepper or…again, there are tens of dozens of ways to vary the flavor. Approach taste tests as a fun game or investigation.

Mix ’em in

Mix a vegetable that you consider a bland “meh” with a dish you love: diced tomatoes and mushrooms in macaroni and cheese, for example, or broccoli on a loaded baked potato. Add some spinach or peppers to scrambled eggs, or celery and onions to a favorite stew or casserole.

In this instance, size may matter. Try dicing veggies into small pieces—or even chopping them in a food processor— so they don’t overpower a bite-sized spoonful.

More Resources

Apples and grapes

The 5 a day goal is part of experts’ 5-2-1-0 recommendations for healthy living. Get more 5-2-1-0 tips and resources in our robust Resource Hub.