You know full well that it’s important to get an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables daily, and of course you want to eat healthy. Actually doing it is a different story entirely. Let’s face it: When you have to choose between eating a juicy burger or a salad, the odds are ever in the burger’s favor. But according to the experts, you don’t always have to ditch the delicious stuff to get your daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. To help you eat healthier on the regular, we consulted top dietitians and nutritionists for their advice on how to sneak more healthy foods into your diet without making sacrifices for taste. Try one or all of these expert tricks to look—and feel—even better.
1. Add slices of cucumber and avocado to your burger.
2. Instead of pasta for lasagna, use a vegetable peeler to make zucchini ribbons.
3. Put two eggs, spinach, onions, and mushrooms into a pan and bake it.
4. Roast vegetables under the broiler and puree the results with beans for a bean dip.
5. Throw frozen mango and pineapple into the blender with vanilla yogurt and a splash of almond milk for a tropical smoothie.
6. Use a lettuce wrap instead of a tortilla.
7. Add chopped figs (you can buy them at the supermarket already chopped) and blueberries to Greek yogurt for a quick and easy parfait.
8. Smother cauliflower or broccoli with a healthy cheese sauce. Just melt low-fat milk, sharp cheddar, and a little flour in a pan, and pour it on top of your veggies.
9. Throw a handful of fresh or frozen vegetables into soup.
10. Add pureed fruit or greens to baked goods. Replace anywhere between a quarter to a half of the fat (butter, oil, etc.) with either fruit or vegetable puree. You won’t taste the difference!
11. Add fresh or frozen fruit to your yogurt or cereal for a touch of sweetness.
12. For an impromptu stir fry, add frozen mixed veggies to a sauté pan. Cook them with a touch of oil and soy sauce.
13. Throw whatever vegetables you have in the fridge into your pasta sauce and puree it in the blender before eating it. Zucchini, carrots, spinach, and bell peppers work especially well.
14. Dip strawberries in melted dark chocolate or a nut spread like Nutella.
15. Add chopped mushrooms to meat-based sauces. The texture is similar to ground beef, so you won’t even notice.
16. Toss a handful of spinach into your scrambled eggs.
17. Have an apple or two handy? Slice them thinly and bake them at 250 degrees for two hours. They come out nice and crisp, and are a great alternative to potato chips.
18. Throw a handful of kale into a milkshake and blend it in the blender. A healthier version: Blend frozen bananas, peanut butter, almond milk, a squirt of agave nectar, and kale—it tastes like peanut butter ice cream.
19. Boil your favorite vegetables, then drain and blend them until they make a smooth, soup-like consistency. Try cauliflower and broccoli with a touch of olive oil and salt.
20. Add black beans to your brownies. Just puree one can of drained black beans in place of flour. You can’t taste the difference.
SOURCES: Lindsay Martin, RD, Hilton Head Health; Elizabeth Brown, RD, TheKitchenVixen.com; Rene Ficek, RD, SeattleSutton.com; certified nutrition consultant Colin Darretta; dietician Marta Wojda; Leigh Tracy, a dietitian at The Center for Endocrinology at Baltimore’s Mercy Medical Center; nutritionist JJ Virgin, author of “The Virgin Diet.”