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Fit Vegetables and Fruits into Meals and Your Budget

Tips to Help You and Your Family Eat more Vegetables and Fruits:

  1. Buy fresh vegetables and fruits that are in season. They cost less and are likely to be at their peak flavor.
  2. Keep a bowl of whole fruit on the table, counter or in the refrigerator.
  3. Stock up on frozen vegetables for quick and easy cooking in the microwave. Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. None have cholesterol. (Sauces or seasonings may add fat, calories or cholesterol.)
  4. Buy vegetables that are easy to prepare. Buy packages of vegetables such as baby carrots or celery sticks for quick snacks.
  5. Vary your vegetable choices to keep meals interesting.
  6. Refrigerate cut-up fruit to store for later.

Look for vegetables and fruits that are in season. This is when flavor and price are best. Your local farmers' market is a great source of seasonal produce.

Check the local newspaper, online, and at the store for sales, coupons and specials that will cut the cost of vegetables and fruits.

Canned and frozen vegetables and fruits may be less expensive than fresh. Compare prices to find the best deal.

Outline meals you plan to eat for the week and use it as a guide. Be sure to list beverages and snacks too! Add vegetables and fruits to complete meals or replace salty snacks.

At farmers’ markets and farm stands, you can find vegetables and fruits that aren’t in a grocery store. Ever heard of kohlrabi? Have you had a salad with arugula or dandelion greens before? Challenge yourself to use a new ingredient.

Your Quest card and Cash Value Vouchers can be used to purchase vegetables and fruits at the store or at authorized farmers' markets. WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) vouchers can also be used to buy Arizona-grown produce at authorized farmers’ market.

Get the family involved with gardening. Start small with a window herb box or plant fruits and vegetables in a container or the yard. SNAP EBT benefits on your Quest card can be used to purchase food-producing plants and seeds. Learn more at

Family Fun Vegetables and Fruits

Enjoy these activities with your kids for a fun way to teach them about nutrition and physical activity.

Sometimes New Foods Take Time

Sometimes new foods take time for kids to like. Kids don’t always take to new foods right away. Offer new vegetables and fruits many times, served in a variety of ways. Give your kids just a taste at first and be patient with them.

Kids learn to like new foods by:

  • Having them offered over and over
  • Having them served with familiar foods
  • Seeing friends, older kids, and grown-ups eating these foods
  • Tasting them prepared in different ways
  • Choosing foods to try themselves
  • Starting with small amounts

Prepare Vegetables and Fruits Together

Prepare vegetables and fruits together. Children learn about vegetables and fruits when they help make them. All of that mixing, mashing, and measuring makes them want to taste what they are making. It’s a great trick for helping cautious eaters try vegetables and fruits. On busy weeknights, cooking together can mean more "mommy and me" time.

  • Ask your child to help with easy tasks, like adding vegetable toppings to a cheese pizza.
  • Let your child choose which vegetables to add to soup. Only an adult should heat and stir hot soup.
  • Make sandwiches together.

All About Vegetables and Fruits

Educate your friends and family with these fun facts.

Click on one of the facts below to learn something new.
All About Whole Grains

Vegetables and fruits are packed with vitamins and minerals to help keep you and your family healthy.

Vegetables and fruits are full of many vitamins and minerals. Here are some examples of the nutrients found in vegetables and fruits:

  1. Fiber Helps keep your heart and gut healthy
  2. Folate Helps women have healthy babies, makes hair grow, skin glow, and nails grow
  3. Vitamin C Helps your teeth and gums stay healthy
  4. Vitamin A Helps your eyes and skin stay healthy
  5. Potassium May help to maintain a healthy blood pressure

It can take patience, but try some of these tips. They’ve worked for many moms.

  • Get them involved in preparing meals.
  • Set a positive example. Offer the same foods to everyone.
  • Set regular times for meals and snacks.
  • Let kids pick what to eat and serve themselves from the meals you provide.
  • Trust your kids to eat enough of the right foods over time.
  • Slow down, relax, and enjoy each other’s company at mealtime.

Yes! Flavor and price are best when vegetables and fruits are in season. You’ve probably noticed certain produce tastes better during different times of the year. For example, many stores have large bins of watermelons during the summer, and citrus fruit like oranges and tangerines are more flavorful in the winter.

Yes, canned and frozen vegetables and fruits are healthy options for you and your family. Plus, buying a mix of fresh, frozen, and canned items can help save time and money. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for canned and frozen vegetables and fruits:

  • Canned vegetables and fruits are prepared before packaging, so they are recipe-ready.
  • Frozen foods also need very little preparation. For example, the washing and slicing is already done.
  • Frozen and canned vegetables and fruits are flavorful and have lots of vitamins and minerals.
  • Recipes prepared with canned foods have the same nutritional value as recipes that are prepared with fresh and frozen ingredients. For canned items, choose fruit canned in 100% fruit juice and vegetables with “low sodium” or "no salt added" on the label.
  • Many fruits taste great with a dip or dressing. Try fat-free or low-fat yogurt as a dip for fruits like strawberries or melons.
  • Make a fruit smoothie by blending fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit. Try bananas, peaches, strawberries, or other berries.
  • Try unsweetened applesauce as a lower-calorie substitute for some of the oil when baking cakes
  • Add color to salads by adding baby carrots, shredded red cabbage, or spinach leaves. Include in-season vegetables for variety throughout the year.
  • Include beans or peas in flavorful mixed dishes, such as chili or minestrone soup.
  • Decorate plates or serving dishes with vegetable slices
  1. Baking: Bake foods slowly in the oven in covered cookware with a little extra liquid.
  2. Boiling: Cook food in water or broth that's bubbling vigorously.
  3. Grilling: Cook food on a rack or skewers directly over a heat source.
  4. Roasting: Cook food uncovered in the oven.
  5. Steaming: Steam food in a covered basket over simmering water.

Head over to our recipe section for more ideas to prepare vegetables and fruits for your family.

  1. Always wash your vegetables and fruits with water (no soap) before cooking and eating.
  2. Keep vegetables and fruits separate from raw meat, poultry and fish.
  3. When cutting up vegetables and fruits, use a special cutting board that isn't used for meats.
  4. Remove bruised and damaged spots on vegetables and fruits.
  5. Check canned vegetables and fruits before opening them. Throw away cans that are bulging, leaking or expired. Wash the top of cans before opening.
  6. Many precut, bagged produce items like lettuce are pre-washed. If the package states that the contents have been pre-washed, you can use the produce without further washing.
  7. Even if you plan to peel the produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first.
  8. Store vegetables and fruits according to proper storage recommendations.

t’s easy! Take a look at your plate at your next meal. According to MyPlate, half of your plate at each meal or occasion should contain vegetables and fruits.

Each color-- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, and tan/brown—contains different nutrients that keep our bodies healthy and support a healthy diet. Adding different colors to your table also adds variety and can keep kids interested in meals. Here are some examples of vegetables and fruits from each color group:

  • Red:
    Fruits: apples, cranberries, pink/red grapefruit, strawberries, watermelon
    Vegetables: beets, red peppers, radishes, tomatoes
  • Orange/Yellow:
    Fruits: oranges, tangerines, apricots, lemons
    Vegetables: butternut squash, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, yellow peppers, sweet corn
  • Green:
    Fruits: avocados, limes, green apples
    Vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, celery, leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, peas, spinach, zucchini, green onions
  • Blue/Purple:
    Fruits: blueberries, plums, grapes, raisins
    Vegetables: eggplant, purple cabbage
  • White:
    Fruits: bananas, white peaches
    Vegetables: cauliflower, garlic, turnips, onions, mushrooms
  • Brown/Tan:
    Fruits: dates, brown pears
    Vegetables: parsnips

Vegetables and Fruits

Meet Champion Mom Angela

Recognizing amazing moms from Arizona, and what makes them champions.

“I’m hungry. That’s the first thing my kids say when they come through the door. I need something to feed them—fast. Sometimes they go to the kitchen and get their own snacks. I found that when I put fruits and vegetables in a place where my kids can see them, they eat them. Now I keep cut-up veggies on a low shelf in the fridge and a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter. When I don’t have fresh fruits and veggies, I use canned or frozen. It takes a little planning, but it’s worth it. I know fruits and vegetables help them stay healthy.”

- Angela,
Champion Mom from Arizona

Angela made healthy changes because her kids are important to her. As a family they shop together at their local farmers' market for fresh fruits and vegetables. Linda's kids learn about fruits and vegetables and get to pick out new kinds to try at home.

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