Trendy Ways To Incorporate More Fruits And Vegetables Into Your Diet

Zucchini noodles are a tasty alternative to pasta.

How many fruits and vegetables did you eat today? We all know that it’s important to eat our fruits and vegetables, but who says that it has to be boring? Hitting the recommended five-a-day servings of fruits and veggies doesn’t have to be torture. Here are some healthy food trends you can try on a regular basis.

Spaghetti Squash Bowls

Spaghetti squash is available year-round and makes for a low-calorie/low-carb alternative to traditional spaghetti. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. In order to make cutting the spaghetti squash easier, try microwaving it for 1-3 minutes. Let cool, and then slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and brush the inside of the squash with about 1 teaspoon of olive oil per side, and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place squash face down on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, cool, then scrape out the insides so strands appear. Fill the bowl with sauce, cooked ground turkey or chicken sausage, sautéed vegetables and a sprinkle of cheese.

Sweet Potato Toast

Sweet Potato Toast is the big food trend of 2018. Sweet potatoes are loaded with fiber, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C and beta-carotene. Wash a sweet potato, then use a sharp knife and cut into slices about ¼ inch thick. If the sweet potato is too difficult to cut, pierce it a few times with a fork and then microwave it for up to a minute. Let the sweet potato cool, then try slicing it again. I like to add almond butter, sliced apples, cinnamon and honey to my sweet potato toast.

Cauliflower Rice

This high-fiber, low-carb alternative to regular white rice makes for a nice addition to any dinner meal. Try adding different spices such as cumin or turmeric to cauliflower rice for a flavor boost. How to make it: You can purchase pre-made cauliflower rice in the frozen food section of most grocery stores. If you would like to make it yourself, start by washing and drying a large head of cauliflower. Remove all the greens, and cut the cauliflower evenly into four sections. Use a food processor to grate the cauliflower down to rice size. Place in a clean towel and squeeze out any excess water. Cook the cauliflower rice by sautéing it with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Zucchini Boats

Zucchini boats are very simple to prepare and are something that the whole family can get involved with when cooking. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Slice your zucchini in half lengthwise and hollow out the center. Aim to create a ¼ inch thick shell on each half. Chop the scooped out zucchini into small pieces, then sauté in a large skillet with onion, kale, bell peppers and diced tomatoes. Add cooked lean ground turkey or beans as well. Fill each zucchini boat with the mixture and sprinkle on 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese for each boat. Place the boats on a baking sheet, cover with foil, and bake 35 minutes.

Nice Cream

Do you love a frozen sweet treat at the end of a long day? Nice cream takes just a few minutes to make, and provides a low-calorie/low-fat alternative to traditional ice cream. How to make it: Peel a ripe banana, slice, and then place the slices into a plastic bag. Freeze for at least 5 hours. Add the frozen banana to a blender and blend until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter, and a drizzle of honey. The flavor combinations are endless.

Which one of these food trends will you incorporate into your routine?

Stefani Pappas, MS, RDN, CDN, CPT, is a Clinical Dietitian Nutritionist at St. Francis Hospital. She also provides private and group nutrition counseling at her office in Great Neck, NY. Visit her website for more information or call 516-225-1745 to schedule an appointment.

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Stefani Pappas Sassos
Long Island Weekly columnist Stefani Pappas, RDN, CPT, is a clinical dietitian at St. Francis Hospital. She also provides private and group nutrition counseling at her office in Great Neck. Visit Stef Health Tips for more information.

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