Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and are packed with vitamins, minerals, protective plant compounds and fiber. They are a great source of nutrients and vital for a healthy diet.
Fruits and vegetables should be part of every meal, and be your first choice for a snack. Eat a minimum of five portions each day. The antioxidants and other nutrients in these foods help protect against developing certain types of cancer and other diseases.
Greens: Dark leafy green vegetables are a vital part of a healthy diet since they are packed with nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, and Vitamins A, C, E and K. Greens help to strengthen the blood and respiratory systems. They are currently the most lacking food in the American diet. Be adventurous in your choice of greens: kale, mustard greens, broccoli, Chinese cabbage are just a few of the many options.
Sweet Vegetables: Naturally sweet vegetables are an excellent way to add healthy sweetness to your meals and reduce your cravings for other sweets. Some examples of sweet vegetables are corn, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes or yams, winter squash, and onions.
Fruit: Eating a wide variety of fruit is another very healthy part of any diet. They provide us with beneficial properties such as natural sugars, fiber, Vitamins and antioxidants. Choose fresh or frozen, and focus on variety. Berries are cancer-fighting, apples provide fiber, oranges and mangos offer vitamin C, and so on.
Go for the brights: The brighter, deeper colored fruits and vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Avoid: Fruit juices can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar per cup; avoid or dilute with water. Canned fruit often contains sugary syrup, and dried fruit, while an excellent source of fiber, can be high in calories. Avoid fried veggies or ones smothered in dressings or sauces – you may still get the vitamins, but you’ll be getting a lot of unhealthy fat and extra calories as well.
Source: Healthy Eating