You probably were told to eat your veggies growing up, and for good reason! Vegetables and fruits are packed with nutrients and are an excellent source of fibre. Certain groups of fruits and vegetables also offer additional health benefits. For example, cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, contain a compound called glucosinolates (glue-co-sin-o-lates), which have been linked with anti-cancer effects. Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables such as carrots, red peppers, berries and beets contain a compound called carotenoids (car-rotten-oids). This compound is what gives them their bright colour, but is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants help to protect your cells from damage and reduce inflammation.
Despite the numerous benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, Canadians are not getting enough. Currently only 1 in 3 Canadians eat enough fruit and vegetables. Adults should be consuming a minimum of 4 cups of fruit and vegetables per day, and children a minimum of 3 cups. So how can we increase our fruit and veggie intake? An easy way is to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies at meal time. Choose from a variety each day and plan your meals with veggies and fruit first.
Here are 5 delicious ways to help you fill half your plate this June:
- Grill your veggies! Grilling vegetables is an easy way to add them to your meals and also helps to enhance their natural sweetness. Toss a variety of your favourite veggies with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Put on the grill, turning once until soft and grill marks appear. Click here for a guide on how to grill a variety of vegetables.
- Repurpose your leftover grilled veggies. Use leftover grilled veggies in sandwiches, like this grilled veggie sandwich, use as toppings for pizza or add to salads.
- Make a fruit salsa. Fresh fruit salsa is excellent served on its own with tortilla chips or as a topper for fish, chicken or burgers. Try this Peach Salsa from Foodland Ontario.
- Keep cool with a summer salad. Salads are a great way to beat the heat and provide a delicious meal when you don’t want to turn on the oven. Click here for some summer salad inspiration.
- Fruit for dessert! The natural sweetness of fruit, especially in the peak of their growing season makes for an excellent dessert. Grilled fruit, like peaches or pineapples, or mixed berries served over frozen yogurt are easy and delicious summer desserts!