Sunday, August 12, 2012

Five Awesome Fruits and Vegetables and How to Use Them in Your Meals

I've always been interested in eating healthier and including more fruits and vegetables in my diet. One wall I have run into in the past is that many articles and magazines talk about foods that I don't like or don't know what to do with. I decided to make a list of my top five fruits and vegetables including their health benefits and easy ways to use them in meals or desserts. 

1. Cucumber

sliced cucumber

Health Benefits:  

  • 96% water, helps to hydrate you, helps to flush out toxins
  • vitamins A, B, C, and potassium
  • can reduce cancer risk
  • good source of fiber which aids digestion
  • silica aids in joint health and strong nails


  • sliced in a sandwich instead of lettuce
  • chunks or slices in a pasta salad
  • sliced with salt and pepper, or balsalmic vinegar as a snack
  • if you slice them up ahead of time and keep them in a container in your fridge, you will be surprised how often you reach for this healthy and almost zero-calorie snack!

2. Clementines (seedless tangerines)

tangerines, oranges

Health Benefits:

  • lots of vitamins C and B, calcium, potassium, fiber, and folic acid
  • only 35 calories
  • full of antioxidants
  • the smell is said to be very calming and stress-relieving
  • helpful to vision health


  • these are so easy to peel, sweet and delicious that they are wonderful alone as a snack
  • peel and add to yogurt
  • peel and add to vanilla ice cream
  • peel and add to a salad

3. Zucchini


Health benefits: 

  • low calorie, only 35 calories per cup
  • high water content
  • filled with protein and fiber
  • vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, potassium, and folate
  • helps lower cholesterol, prevent cancer, and lower blood pressure


  • add to pasta dishes
  • use as the basis of a stir fry
  • fry in a pan with a little olive oil and melt a little low-fat mozzarella cheese on top
  • pizza topping
  • as a side dish with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top

4. Bananas

bunch of bananas

Health Benefits:

  • only about 108 calories
  • vitamin B6 that helps ward off obesity and diabetes
  • lowers blood pressure and blood sugar
  • fiber which curbs over-eating, and potassium which neutralizes sodium
  • helps prevent kidney cancer


  • alone as a snack
  • with yogurt as a dip
  • in cereal
  • with chocolate ice cream
  • banana bread!

5. Broccoli

lots of broccoli

Health Benefits: 

  • great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber
  • lessens the risks of cancer, heart disease, and cataracts
  • vitamins c and a, folic acid, and calcium
  • only around 52 calories a cup
  • boosts immune system and helps heal sun damage


  • add to a pasta dish
  • ingredient in stir fry
  • raw in salad
  • blanched with salt, lemon pepper, and parmesan cheese

There you have it. These are my five favorites, and I'm happy that my favorites also happen to be some of the cheapest and easiest to find!

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable? Do you have any great uses for mine that I don't have listed here? Please share! I look forward to hearing from you!

Until next time,



  1. Great Post!!! Here's to your health, Connie :)

  2. Thank you so much, what great tips! I have to admit I'm lucky with fruit and veg I love most bits, salad on the other hand I'm not grand on I really need to try and eat more.


    1. No problem! I'm not huge on salad either, mostly because I'm lazy about chopping everything up! :)

  3. Love how you gave the benefits and then some ideas for using them! I use zucchini to make these yummy zucchini cakes, sort of like potato pancakes but they're made of zucchini. It's always a favorite in my hosue! Bananas are also wonderful in smoothies and drinks. I make this banana milk thing in my blender with 1 frozen banana, coconut milk (or regular cow milk), honey. If you blend it enough, the consistency will turn more liquidy and it's so good!

    1. Great ideas! That banana smoothie sounds delicious! I would probably add ice to it (or maybe that's just the overheated-sick-of-summer me talking, lol!).

    2. Dear Robin and Jamie
      Hope you don't mind if I ask for the receipe for your zucchini cakes and banana smoothy, want to make it right!
      Here's what I like to do with zucchini. Chop zucchini, tomatoes and mushrooms saute in tlbs butter, then either place on bread add swiss cheese and make like one would make a grill cheese sandwhich. Or I use as ingredients in my omelets.

    3. I'll see if I can message Robin for the zucchini cake recipe! I don't know if there's an exact recipe for the banana smoothie - I think it's just trial and error with what you want to put in it! :) Your grilled cheese sounds good!

  4. I add zucchini to my pasta my husband does and it's delicious! The only thing I just can't tolerate is cucumbers. I hate the taste! but i like pickles...weird

    1. Thanks for your comment, Michelle! That's too funny... my husband is the opposite: he hates pickles, but likes cucumbers! I like both! :)

  5. My sister eats Cucumber like an apple! I've you make zucchini string with a grater it's an excellent replacement for spaghetti, for those who avoid wheat!

    1. Cool! I've never heard of making zucchini string before, but it sounds like a great alternative!

    2. Dear Rebecca and Jamie
      I have heard of zucchini being used like that could you explain how one uses the zucchini like that though as I forgot to ask last time. Do you cook the zucchini strings or just grate and serve under sauce?