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Benefits news: Adding color to your meals

Mar 11, 2015

The American Cancer Society recommends eating at least 2 ½ cups of both fruits and vegetables each day to help lower cancer risk. These color-rich foods contain important vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants that have been shown to build our immune systems, lower blood pressure, help us lose weight, get more restful sleep at night and reduce the risk of heart disease. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three-fourths of Americans fail to eat the recommended amount of vegetables each day and two-thirds do not eat the recommended amount of fruits.  Here are some tips for adding a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to your daily diet.

  1. Plan ahead—grocery shop, have fruits and vegetables prepared and ready to eat in your fridge.
  2. Boost your breakfast by adding fruit to your cereal, oatmeal or protein shake. Add veggies to your omelet to keep you satisfied longer.
  3. Go vegetarian once a week. Try a new recipe or just cut out the meat in your go-to meals.
  4. Double the veggies—some recipes for soups, pizzas, pastas, and casseroles call for vegetables—double it!
  5. Experiment—try something new and keep things interesting each week. Try acorn squash, plantains, eggplant, kiwi or pluots if you haven't tried them before. 
  6. Dig the dip—if fresh fruits and vegetables sound boring, then dip them in something like yogurt or hummus, salsa or guacamole.
  7. Don't skip dessert—have a frozen banana or a frozen yogurt with fresh fruit on top.

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