Monday, April 04, 2011

From the Earth

This week's topic on Eat.Live.Be. is creative tips to make sure you're getting in all your fruits and veggies.

This one is just a no-brainer for me. I completely attribute it to my parents. Both of them were veggie eaters, and my mom even liked the "weird" veggies - like brussels sprouts. Thatmom is also a fruit fiend. So we had a variety of vegetables and fruit in the house year round.

Vegetables were always served with dinner. And stories are told about how one had to watch their lima beans when dining with me. I was a lima bean fiend. I would steal them right off your plate. Know why? Because lima beans in my house were served with a generous serving of butter and salt. It's considered bad form to eat butter straight from the stick, so even at that age I was happy to find any acceptable vessel to get the butter into my mouth.

Salads were served every night - usually filled with fresh vegetables from our garden (during the summer). Thatbrother and I would be sent out to pick something fresh which made us feel empowered and like we were contributing to dinner.

As for fruit? Well I can hardly remember a day without fruit salad in the fridge. In the summer it was melon and berry. In the fall, pears and apples. Winter had citrus and grapes. If you were hungry after dinner, an apple was placed in your hand. "If you're hungry, then this should help fill you up." Fruit was treated as dessert - and when you treat it like a treat, that's the way it's viewed.

So my tips for working fruit and veggies into your diet?
1) Buy seasonal. Food in season tastes so much better when they're in season. I mentioned it the other day with tomatoes, but it really holds true for everything. I don't buy strawberries until I can literally smell them at the farmer's market. Never buy a melon before June. And zucchini and tomato are just perfect by end of the summer.

2) Work them into every meal. I'm not a proponent of using juice as a "fruit" because it's more sugar than anything else. It's too sweet for me, so I tend to water it down. I've gotten Thatboy to water down his insane amounts of juice too. Instead of orange juice at breakfast, try sliced oranges. Berries and grapes are perfect for breakfast. At lunch, throw some carrot sticks, celery, jicima, or cucumber for snacking. And at dinner, make sure you're using veggies in and around your main dish. I always throw some fruit into my salads along with the veggies.

3) Keep them handy. As soon as I buy strawberries, I chop them up so they're easy to grab. Same with carrots and celery. Keep them in some water and they'll last - except for the fact you'll be much more likely to grab a handful. I keep grapes in the freezer for anytime I want a cold, sweet snack.

4) Use them mercilessly. Throw some carrots in your smoothie for some added sweetness - and of course, the smoothie in general is a great way to add fruits and veggies into your diet. Add veggies into soups, stirfries, omelets, and pastas. There is really no dish that couldn't benefit from some added fruit and vegetables. Take grilled meat. Sure you could make a meal out of just meat and potatoes, but if you've got that grill growing, throw on a couple skewers of veggies. Even better, veggies AND fruit. I like pineapple, but peaches and apples also grill beautifully.

Lamb Kebab with Veggies
1/2 leg of lamb, cut into cubes
1 onion, sliced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup sherry
1/2 Tbsp canola oil
2 small onions, parboiled
2 large mushrooms
1 tomato, quartered
4 squares of green pepper
4 pineapple chunks

  1. Mix lamb, sliced onions, slat, pepper, sherry, oil and a sprinkle of oregano in a bowl and mix. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Place the lamb on skewers and grill until cooked to your liking.
  3. While lamb cooks, skewer the veggies and pineapple. Brush with a teaspoon of oil and grill 2 minutes per side.

Next week's topic is Vitamins and Supplements.

And here are a list of the other bloggers participating:


  1. Your tips are well taken and to the point. Your images today are wonderful. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  2. Such good tips. You are so right that having the fruit washed and cut helps it become a quick, easy and healthy snack. I can't wait for the sun so we can start grilling!

  3. I'm a big fan of throwing fruits and veggies into as many places as possible! I really should start freezing grapes..they sound like such a fun snack!

  4. My dad has always been a vegetarian and so fruits and vegetables were always a large part of our meals as well. Now in saying that I can't say that I loved all veggies as a kid but still love everything but cauliflower:D