(NAPSI)-Here's food for thought: Eating lots of colorful fruits and vegetables can be a sound investment in long-term health. They're loaded with healthy fiber, vitamins and minerals, and eating them helps maintain a healthy weight and may reduce the risk of many diseases.
All forms of fruits and vegetables-fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100 percent fruit and vegetable juice-can be an affordable part of a healthful lifestyle.
Making produce instead of protein the main focus of a meal can mean less cost, less fat, fewer calories and more vitamins and minerals. Use meat as a side dish rather than the main course. Replace it with extra fruits and vegetables.
For a quick-to-fix dish that offers 1¼ cups of veggies in each serving and is an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C and fiber, try this 10- Minute Veggie Soup.
10-Minute Veggie Soup
Preparation time: 10 minutes; allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving
2 29-oz. cans low-sodium chicken broth
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes - no salt added
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon onion powder
¾ cup macaroni, dry
3 cups frozen mixed vegetables
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
Combine chicken broth, diced tomatoes, basil and onion powder. Bring to a simmer and add pasta and frozen vegetable mix (broccoli, cauliflower and carrot mix is great in this recipe). Cook for 6 minutes and remove from heat, adding salt and pepper to taste.
The pasta will not be cooked all the way through. Let soup sit for 5 minutes and pasta will become soft.
Nutrition Information per serving: calories: 112, total fat: 0.5g, saturated fat: 0.3g, percent calories from fat: 4, percent calories from saturated fat: 3, protein: 6g, carbohydrates: 21g, cholesterol: 3mg, dietary fiber: 4g, sodium: 244mg.
Round out your meal with a slice of whole grain bread, add fresh, canned or frozen fruit for dessert and you've just put a delicious, nutritious dinner on the table in nearly no time.
You can find healthful, easy-to-prepare recipes online at www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org. There's even an entire section of recipes that can be made in 30 minutes or less. You'll also find a healthful meal-planning guide with advice on making a weekly menu and shopping list.
by Elizabeth Pivonka, President, Produce for Better Health Foundation
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