Pack your meals with healthy produce using these 7 tips.
Research links diets rich in fruits and vegetables with a lower risk for heart disease, but The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that most Americans eat less than half the amount of recommended vegetable servings. Meals packed with produce can help you lower the risk for heart disease, lose weight and add more fiber, nutrients and antioxidants in your diet. If you’re finding it difficult to get your daily servings of vegetables, try these seven tips that make eating more vegetables easy.
Top Proteins with Sautéed Vegetables
Instead of topping cooked fish (or meat or poultry) with a sauce, use sautéed vegetables, such as peppers, onions and tomatoes. They’ll add plenty of flavor and nutrients—and at the same time, boost portion size without adding a lot of calories.
Tilapia & Summer Vegetable Packets
Wrapping vegetables and fish in a foil packet for grilling or baking is a foolproof way to get moist, tender results. Tilapia and summer vegetables pair with olives and capers for a Mediterranean flair.
1 cup quartered cherry, or grape tomatoes
1 cup diced summer squash1 cup thinly sliced red onion
12 green beans, trimmed and cut into
1-inch pieces ¼ cup pitted and coarsely chopped black olives
2 tablespoons lemon juice1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed
½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into 4 equal portions
- Preheat grill to medium. (No grill? See Oven Variation, below.) Combine tomatoes, squash, onion, green beans, olives, lemon juice, oregano, oil, capers, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.
- To make a packet, lay two 20-inch sheets of foil on top of each other (the double layers will help protect the contents from burning); generously coat the top piece with cooking spray. Place one portion of tilapia in the center of the foil. Sprinkle with some of the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper, then top with about ¾ cup of the vegetable mixture.
- Bring the short ends of the foil together, leaving enough room in the packet for steam to gather and cook the food. Fold the foil over and pinch to seal. Pinch seams together along the sides. Make sure all the seams are tightly sealed to keep steam from escaping. Repeat with more foil, cooking spray and the remaining fish, salt, pepper and vegetables.
- Grill the packets until the fish is cooked through and the vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. To serve, carefully open both ends of the packets and allow the steam to escape. Use a spatula to slide the contents onto plates.
- Oven Variation: Preheat oven to 425°F. Place green beans in a microwavable bowl with 1 tablespoon water. Cover and microwave on High until the beans are just beginning to cook, about 30 seconds. Drain and add to the other vegetables (Step 2). Assemble packets (Steps 3-4). Bake the packets directly on an oven rack until the tilapia is cooked through and the vegetables are just tender, about 20 minutes.