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Ask the Dietitians
Registered Dietitians Answer Your Questions about Restaurant Nutrition

How To Order More Fruits and Veggies


One of the easiest places to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet is at restaurants.  Not only can restaurants whip up some really amazing choices; they also take the prep work and cooking off your already full plate!  
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Q: What Are the Easiest Ways to Add Fruits and Veggies to My Restaurant Meals?

One of the easiest places to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet is at restaurants. Not only can restaurants whip up some really amazing choices; they also take the prep work and cooking off your already full plate! 

Fruits and vegetables are an essential piece of a healthy diet, providing an array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals along with fiber and flavor.  MyPlate recommends making half your plate fruits and vegetables at every meal to take advantage of these nutrition powerhouses and the health benefits they offer.

When eating out, it’s easier than ever to add fruits and veggies to your plate. Here are some of our team’s recommendations for adding more fruits and veggies to your restaurant meals:
  1. Get started right – Many restaurants offer produce-rich appetizers like hummus with veggie sticks. Starting a meal with a choice like this or a side of fresh fruit adds nutrition to your meal and is often a healthier choice than more traditional appetizers.
  2. Say yes to salad – Add a salad to your order for easy extra veggies. Be sure to order dressing on the side to add as you go.  Whether it’s a leafy green salad, heirloom tomatoes, beets with goat cheese or something else entirely is up to you and your taste buds.
  3. Order a smart side – Opt for veggies or fruit to pair with your meal. Ask questions about preparation to avoid added calories. Don’t miss your chance to try something new!
  4. Boost your meal with soup – Vegetable-based soups like minestrone can add warmth, nutrition and flavor to your diet. Start your meal with a broth-based, veggie-rich choice or pair it with a salad for even more nutrients.
  5. Opt for meatless – More and more restaurants are offering vegetarian, vegan and meatless choices that put vegetables front and center. These options are an easy way to boost your veggie servings for the day.
  6. Go for the swap – Lettuce in place of a burger bun, extra veggies on your pizza, fresh fruit in place of fries – you name it – there’s a swap to add more fruits and veggies to your meal.
  7. Rethink dessert – Look for options that include fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth and boost your nutrition.
How do you get more fruits and veggies into your restaurant meals? At home, try these tips for whipping up nutritious fruits and vegetables. When dining out, order produce-packed choices like these from participating Healthy Dining restaurants:
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Registered Dietitians Answer Your Questions about Restaurant Nutrition

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