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They say "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." We all know we need more fruits and vegetables in our diets, but there has always seemed to be a reason to skip the essential nutrient-filled meal supplements... until now!

Adding more fruits and veggies into your diet gives you more vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. Here are over 20 ways to get more fruits and veggies every day, so like we said...No Excuses!


Add finely minced broccoli to scrambled eggs.

Steam and puree or finely grate cauliflower to mix with scrambled eggs.

Bake 'em into breakfast sweets! Try making some travel-friendly bran muffins packed with zucchini and carrots in addition to the classic raisins, walnuts, and cinnamon!

Try pumpkin or butternut squash pancakes or waffles. Throw some pumpkin or squash puree into any pancake or waffle mix to fit in an extra serving of veggies.

Add greens to breakfast smoothies. A handful of spinach or kale blends well with any fruit smoothie. Try the "Incredible Hulk" Smoothie by blending 1 cup baby spinach, 1 packet French vanilla carnation instant breakfast, 1 tsp pb, ½ cup ice, and 1 cup water.

Grab an avocado smoothie. Like the smoothie above, this avocado-based treat is perfect for breakfast or a nutritious midday snack. Packed with healthy fats, vitamin E, and vitamin B6, avocados are definitely one super food to get more of.

Pasta and Grains

"Veggie up" pasta dishes. With any pasta dish try adding several handfuls of frozen veggies to the sauce. You can also puree the veggies and add to the sauce if you are worried about your little ones picking them out!

Substitute veggie strips like zucchini, squash, asparagus, or spaghetti squash and skip the pasta altogether. Add veggies to the sauce too for bonus points.

Fancy up macaroni and cheese. Spinach, cauliflower, peas, and broccoli make awesome additions to any mac and cheese.

Sneak them in casseroles. Anytime that casserole dish comes out of the cupboard, get out the grater, too. Finely shredded zucchini or summer squash can be added to virtually any casserole without changing taste or texture!


Sub greens for sandwich wraps. For tougher greens like collards, kale, or chard, blanch the greens and pat dry before wrapping.

Try veggie grilled cheese. When you are in the mood for a plain old grilled cheese try throwing a layer of veggies into the center. Spinach or arugula, tomato, and avocado make awesome additions.

Make veggie quesadillas. Instead of opting for the classic chicken-and-cheese, throw in a variety of veggies and cut down the cheese by half for a healthier version. Some favorite fillings are corn, peppers, onions, and greens.

Sauces and Condiments

Basic tomato sauce is great and counts as one veggie but the more veggies added the better. Try adding pureed carrots or winter squash, peppers, onions, or greens.

Mix butternut squash puree and grated cheese to use as a spread in grilled cheese, quesadillas, or pizzas.

Remember herbs are leafy greens too! Whip up a quick homemade herb pesto to add to scrambled eggs or use as a sandwich spread.


Turn it into a stir-fry. Slice zucchini, avocado, carrot, or green beans, lightly bread and bake until crispy.

Cook up kale chips. Lightly coated in oil and sprinkled with salt, crispy kale chips are a great (and much healthier) stand-in for potato chips.

Don't forget plain ole' veggies and ranch for a great crunchy snack. Try mixing Greek yogurt with a packet of ranch seasoning for a fat-free dip that tastes great!

Roast chickpeas for a crunchy snack. Simply rinse, pat dry, spray with cooking spray, sprinkle with seasoning of your choice, and roast for 20-40 minutes at 350. Eat plain or add to your favorite trail mix!


Serve a colorful pie. Pizza is a great vehicle for a big pile of veggies. Practically anything works, so don't be afraid to step out of the box. Try corn, artichokes, peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc!

Soups and Stews

 Add veggie puree to chicken soup. Making classic chicken soup? Add a can of pureed tomatoes, squash, or potato. It will make for a thicker soup and will sneak in some extra veggies.

Add carrot, sweet potato, or butternut squash puree to any chili or stew recipe.

Using canned soup for a quick meal? Add a handful of frozen veggies into the soup before warming it up. This helps bulk up your soup to keep you full while adding in more nutrients!

Caitlyn Ferin RD, LD

Caitlyn Ferin RD, LD

Registered Dietitian

Caitlyn graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in Dietetics. She has worked in nutrition at Mid Iowa Community Action and as a clinical dietitian for the Iowa Veterans Home and Marshalltown Medical and Surgical Center. Her goal is to help you and your family develop and maintain healthy lifestyles by sharing creative and practical nutrition tips.

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