Easy and Delicious Ways to Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Kelsey Vilcek, Dietetic Intern

We all know that fruits and vegetables are needed for our health, but sometimes it is quite difficult to add them into our meals. For anyone who thinks fruits and vegetables are “bad” for people with diabetes, think again! Fruits are great because they are an easy way to enjoy something sweet without creating large spikes in blood sugar levels compared to eating candy or desserts. This is because fruits are high in fiber, which helps to keep blood sugar levels steady. As for vegetables, only the starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, green peas, winter squash and corn have an effect on blood sugar. Non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, carrots, greens, cauliflower, etc.) are important to eat because they are low in carbohydrates and calories. Eating vegetables is another simple way to feel full and satisfy your appetite, while adding vitamins and minerals and minimizing rises in blood sugar.

Some easy ways to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet:

  • Use vegetables for dipping in hummus or low-fat dressings
  • Make kebobs: grill vegetables such as peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, and tomatoes with chicken as a fun meal (You can even do this with fruit!)
  • Veggie wraps: roast vegetables and roll up in a whole-wheat tortilla
  • Add vegetables as toppers to salads
  • Smoothies (low-fat milk, frozen fruit, frozen spinach or kale, and nut butter)
  • Try vegetables as pizza toppings
  • Puree vegetables as a sauce for pasta, chicken, pork, or seafood
  • Chop, grate, or shred zucchini, carrots, or spinach and add into lasagna, casseroles, or meatloaf
  • Have an apple or banana and peanut butter as a snack
  • Egg omelet with vegetables
  • Oatmeal with fruit
  • Substitute butter with avocado
  • Puree prunes, bananas, peaches, or apples and use in place of ½ of the fat in recipes for muffins, pancakes, breads, etc.
  • Add carrots or zucchini to baked goods
  • Low-sodium vegetable soup with beans
  • Leave fresh fruit out on the counter where you can see and grab it easily
  • Consider making fresh vegetables juices
Content reviewed by Melanie Pearsall, RD, CDE

Ice Cream and Summer BBQ

By Suzanne Russell-Curtis, RD, CDE
Bulfinch Medical Group

It’s finally arrived, summer! The time of year to relax, go on vacations, take trips to the beach, and eat BBQ.  Many of my patients complain that they are unable to fully enjoy summer because of Diabetes: no walking barefoot on the beach, no ice cream cones, no BBQ.  

It’s true you must wear shoes at all times, but not true that you have to avoid ice cream and BBQ.  You do have to choose wisely, though. Go ahead and eat that corn on the cob, just cut the ear in half. Enjoy that potato salad too; just take a small scoop, not a mound! 

If you have the option of fish go for it. Remember, grilled fish is much better for you than fried. If hamburgers and hotdogs are all that’s on the menu, grab a hamburger minus the cheese and use fresh tomatoes instead of ketchup. Fill half your plate with garden salad and use oil and vinegar dressing or lemon. Finally, fruit is in season and it’s at its juiciest, so skip the cookies and head for a small piece of fruit. 

If you are heading to the 4th of July cook-out or any summer party, remember you can always offer to bring a healthy dish, such as fresh vegetables, fish or lean hamburgers. Your host will appreciate it and you will have healthier alternatives available. You may even find that the other guests are also appreciative. 

Now…. what about everyone’s favorite summer treat…. ice cream! Go right ahead and enjoy your favorite flavor, but there are a few ways to enjoy it in a healthy fashion. It’s all about portion size, so think about “down sizing” not “super sizing”. You can do this by choosing the smallest size available, and the kid size is perfect. Think about picking toppings or “extras” and be wise about your choice. Nuts over candy, fresh fruit over fruit sauces and syrups. If you really want to mix it up, try sorbet:  it’s much more refreshing than ice cream. 

Hope this helps you all to enjoy the next 99 days!