- Substitute brown or wild rice for white rice in mixed dishes and soups.
- Use whole-wheat flour for up to half of the flour in baked goods. They may need a bit more leavening as a result.
- Use whole-grain bread or cracker crumbs in meatloaf or sausage dishes.
- Try rolled oats or a crushed, unsweetened whole grain cereal as breading for baked chicken, fish or pork.
- Try an unsweetened, whole grain ready-to-eat cereal as croutons in salad or in place of crackers with soup.
- Freeze leftover cooked brown or wild rice, bulgar or barley. Heat and serve it later as a quick side dish.
- Plan some meals around a vegetable main dish, such as a vegetable stir-fry or soup. Then add other foods to complement it.
- Try a main dish salad for lunch. Go light on the salad dressing.
- Include a green salad with your dinner every night.
- Add extra shredded vegetables like shredded carrots or zucchini to mixed dishes (like tacos, enchiladas and burritos), soups and salsas.
- Include chopped vegetables in pasta sauce or lasagna.
- Order a veggie pizza with toppings like mushrooms, green peppers and onions—and ask for extra veggies.
- Use pureed, cooked vegetables such as potatoes to thicken stews, soups and gravies. They can add flavor, nutrients and texture.
- Grill vegetable kabobs as part of a barbecue. Try tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers and onions.
- Include cooked, dry beans or peas in flavorful mixed dishes, such as chili or minestrone soup.
- Keep a bowl of cut-up vegetables in a clear container in the refrigerator. Carrot and celery sticks are traditional, but consider broccoli florets, cucumber slices or red or green pepper strips.
- Keep a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter or your desk at work, as a visual reminder to eat more fruits each day!
- At breakfast, top your cereal with bananas or peaches; add blueberries to baked goods; drink 100% orange or grapefruit juice or try a fruit mixed with low-fat or fat-free yogurt.
- At lunch, pack a tangerine, banana or grapes to eat—or choose fruits from a salad bar. Individual containers of fruits like peaches or applesauce are easy and convenient. Just be sure they are packed in 100% juice with a minimal amount of added sugar.
- At dinner, add crushed pineapple to coleslaw, or include mandarin oranges or grapes in a tossed salad.
- Try meat dishes that incorporate fruit, such as chicken with apricots or mango sauce.
- For dessert, have baked apples, pears or a fruit salad.
- Take dried fruit with you when you're on-the-go. Fruits that are available dried include apricots, apples, pineapple, bananas, cherries, figs, dates, cranberries, blueberries, prunes (dried plums) and raisins (dried grapes).
- Make a fruit smoothie by blending fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit. Try mango, bananas, peaches, strawberries or other berries.
- Include milk as a beverage at meals. Choose fat-free or low-fat varieties.
- If you usually drink whole milk, gradually switch to fat-free milk, in order to lower saturated fat and calories. Try reduced fat (2%), then low-fat (1%) and finally fat-free (skim).
- Add fat-free or low-fat milk instead of water to oatmeal and hot cereals.
- Have fat-free or low-fat yogurt as a snack.
- Make fruit-yogurt smoothies in the blender.
- Top cut-up fruit with flavored yogurt for a quick dessert.
Meat and Beans (Proteins)
- Choose fish more often for lunch or dinner. The recommendation is to eat 8 ounces or more of seafood each week.
- Make mixed dishes or soups with skinless chicken breasts, instead of higher fat meats and sausages.
- Choose dry beans or peas as a main dish or part of a meal. One-half cup of cooked beans is equal to two ounces of meat. Some choices are:
- Chili or other mixed dishes with kidney or pinto beans
- Split pea, lentil, minestrone or white bean soups
- Black bean enchiladas
- Garbanzo or kidney beans on a salad
- Choose nuts as a snack, on salads or in main dishes. Use nuts to replace meat or poultry, not in addition to these items. Try these:
- Add slivered almonds to steamed vegetables
- Add toasted peanuts or cashews to a vegetable stir fry instead of meat
- Add walnuts or pecans to a green salad instead of cheese or meat