Eating Healthy Doesn’t Have to Be Bland

— Written By

Eating Healthy Doesn't Have to be Bland

We have all been told “Eat your vegetables…they are good for you.”  We just didn’t know how good they taste if you add some spices.

Fruits and vegetables provide vitamin A (and beta carotene) and C. Some are also good sources of folate, potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron. Each of these nutrients helps your body function, while reducing the risks of some cancers, heart disease, and other health problems. The latest research shows that by including more fruits and vegetables in our diet, Americans can decrease risk of many chronic diseases.

The key to adding more of those good fruits and vegetables is to go for the taste and eat a wide assortment. A good rule of thumb is to eat at least three different colors each day.

A great way to increase fruit and vegetable servings for yourself and your family is to make them readily available to eat. That’s especially true for kids and teenagers. To make eating fruits and vegetables fun, try these ideas:

  • Clean carrots and celery, then cut into bite-size snacking pieces, or buy bags of baby carrots and chopped, ready-to-eat vegetables.
  • Keep a bowl of colorful assorted fruit on the counter to remind the family to help themselves.
  • Offer crisp broccoli and cauliflower florets for dipping and in salads. They taste best and keep longer when blanched for a minute in boiling water and then refreshed in ice water. Drain well and chill.
  • Have dried fruit –  such as raisins or apricots on hand for snacks, or lunch boxes.
  • Let the kids “decorate” pizza with fresh, cut-up vegetables, such as sliced tomatoes, zucchini, or mushrooms.
  • For warm weather treats, try freezing fresh fruit like seedless green and red grapes. Dip slices of banana into lemon juice and stick in a toothpick before freezing.
  • Add pureed vegetables to sauces and casseroles.
  • Mix chopped or grated vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and zucchini, into your pasta sauces.

Research shows that including more fruits and vegetables in our diet keeps us health. This tasty recipe is a way to “spice up” a fruit salad in a healthy and delicious way. While the recipe calls for grapefruit, mango, and pineapple, you could use most any combination of fruit.

Chili Lime Salad with Grapefruit, Mango and Pineapple



  • 2 grapefruit, cut into sections
  • 2 mangos, chopped
  • ½ pineapple, chopped (can use canned – discard juice


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (canola, grapeseed, or sunflower seed)
  • 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or less)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the fruit in a large bowl, cover, and refrigerate.
  2. Make the dressing using a screw top jar or plastic container with a tight fitting lid.
  3. Place all dressing ingredients in the jar or container and shake to combine.
  4. Pour over the fruit and stir.
  5. Serve immediately or chill until serving.

Serving Size: 1¼ cup

For more great recipes go to the new Mediterranean way of eating website: Med Instead of Meds

Written By

Kerry Jones, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionKerry JonesCounty Extension Administrative Assistant Call Kerry Email Kerry N.C. Cooperative Extension, Polk County Center
Posted on Jun 1, 2020
Was the information on this page helpful? Yes check No close
Scannable QR Code to Access Electronic Version