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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Get creative to consume enough fruits and vegetables

STILLWATER, Okla. – Although most people know they should eat more fruits and vegetables each day, many do not.

Fruits and vegetables are a vital part of any diet because they provide necessary nutrients, are high in dietary fiber, and low in calories, fat and cholesterol, said Janice Hermann, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist.

“When filling your plate, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends you make half of your plate fruits and vegetables,” Hermann said. “Unfortunately, many people don’t take this recommendation to heart. But now is a great time to jump on the fruit and vegetable bandwagon.”

With summer now in full swing, in-season produce is at its peak right now, making choices abundant. Your local grocery stores and farmers markets are sure to be carrying a wide selection that can please even the pickiest of eaters.

Hermann said one of the great things about shopping at your local farmers market is you get fresh produce.

“As an added bonus, you also help support local farmers and the local economy,” she said.

Some people may be intimidated at the thought of incorporating five servings of fruits and vegetables into their diet, but it actually can be quite easily done.

Add fresh fruit to cooked or whole grain cereal. If you are a fan of pancakes, add some blueberries to the batter. A tablespoon or two of naturally sweetened applesauce is a great addition to a peanut butter sandwich on whole-grain bread. Serve cut-up fruit on skewers with a low-fat or nonfat yogurt dip.

Vegetables are easy to sneak into the diet as well. Add chopped vegetables to an omelet, quiche or frittata. For those who like south-of-the-border fare, add vegetables to a whole-wheat tortilla to make either a vegetable quesadilla or a breakfast burrito. When making a sandwich, add sliced cucumbers, onions, lettuce, tomatoes or even bean sprouts for variety.

“If you’re craving the saltiness and crunch of potato chips, try making some kale chips at home,” she said. “Kale chips are a much better option than traditional potato chips.”

Rinse and dry about a pound of kale. Remove the rib from the kale and tear into smaller pieces, about 2 inches square. Toss the leaves with 2 tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil. Place the leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 5 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, turn the kale pieces and bake for another 5 minutes. Be sure to watch closely as the kale can burn quickly.

For more information about increasing your fruit and vegetable intake, contact your local OSU Cooperative Extension office.


Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments Cooperating: The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or status as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.

Trisha Gedon
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
136 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK  74078
405-744-3625 (phone)
405-744-5739 (fax)

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078