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  Cook smart

Get creative!

Some people will eat almost anything. But whether it’s pungent cheese, fried spiders or chicken liver, it can take a few tries to develop a taste for something. Fruits and vegetables are no different. Believe it or not, five servings is about equal to two-and-a-half cups. Less than you’d think, right?

Salads are a great place to start. Packing several servings of fruits and vegetables into a bowl with a drizzle of dressing can make for a powerful and tasty lunch. But if you’re not there yet, don’t worry. There’s plenty of ways to sneak the good stuff into your day.

Try a smoothie, which squeezes several servings (and lots of nutrients!) into one glass. Blend up an avocado, some low-fat milk, a tablespoon of agave nectar or honey, lime juice and cilantro. Throw a handful of spinach or kale into pretty much any smoothie recipe for an extra boost.

And speaking of kale, have you made kale chips yet? They’re a cinch: tear kale off the stalks, drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the leaves, scatter on a baking sheet and lightly salt. Bake at 400°F for 12-15 minutes or until the leaves have browned. They’re a great replacement for potato chips – a crispy crunch with less fat and more nutrients. For a spicy zip, sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

If you have the chance, substitute a vegetable for a starch. Try veggie pasta. Take a peeler to zucchini or eggplant to make long, thin ribbons. Sauté with some olive oil, top with sauce and Parmesan. You can also try roasting spaghetti squash for natural faux noodles. Just bake, shred with a fork and top with your favorite sauce. It’s delicious.

Once you get started, it’ll snowball. It’s surprising how delightfully addicting vegetables can be. Just start small and watch your tastes change. Try some of these yumPower recipes to get started: