Veggie Boost

By Charlyn Fargo

April 12, 2019 5 min read

We've all heard that we need to eat more vegetables — up to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. But how do you really accomplish that?

One of the best ways is to add fruits and vegetables at breakfast. Here are a few tips from Environmental Nutrition Newsletter to help boost your intake:

1. Think veggies with eggs: Add tomatoes, pepper and onions to your morning scramble, omelet or frittata. Experiment with greens, mushrooms, zucchini and asparagus.

2. Try a new spread: Instead of topping whole grain toast, waffles or pancakes with butter or syrup, try an apple or pumpkin butter to boost fiber and vitamin A.

3. Eggs Benedict modified: Take the traditional Eggs Benedict and add steamed spinach or serve it over a roasted Portabella mushroom.

4. Be creative with your muffins: Improve a homemade whole grain muffin by adding pureed pumpkin or shredded carrots or zucchini. Make a big batch and freeze the extras for a quick breakfast.

5. Super smoothie: Add fresh greens, avocado, cooked sweet potatoes or frozen fruits to your favorite smoothie to boost your daily intake.

6. Flavor your morning potatoes with more than onions: Add chopped bell peppers, zucchini, asparagus, parsnips, turnips or fennel or use leftover vegetables.

Q and A

Q: Is it true that interval training is better than regular aerobic forms of exercise? If so, how does that fit with the recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity?

A: Interval Training, technically referred to as High Intensity Interval Training, refers to short bursts (intervals) of intense activity mixed into more moderate activity. HIIT is not necessarily better, but the American College of Sports Medicine and American Council on Exercise says that it allows you to increase fitness faster and with shorter workouts than through traditional aerobic exercise at one continuous pace. It is still important for cancer prevention and overall health for you to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily. If you are already exercising regularly and want to try interval training, start by incorporating intervals of one or two minutes that are faster or more challenging into walking, bicycling or almost any type of activity. Begin with a few of these intervals in your activity, and perhaps work up to 10 or more intense intervals per session. Follow each high-intensity period with a block of lower-intensity activity that's as long or even twice as long as time spent with intense activity.

For example, after the all-important five to ten minutes of warm-up, you might jog or bike for 30 seconds to two minutes exercising hard enough that carrying on a conversation would be difficult. Then slow down for one to five minutes. Repeat this back-and-forth as desired. Be sure to allow for five to ten minutes of cool-down activity before you stop. Athletes have used this technique for many years, though it is now widely used by people of all ages and fitness levels even in people with heart disease. However, because HIIT does impose demands on the body, those at increased heart-related risk should discuss this with their doctor in advance. That includes people with known heart disease, as well as people who have ever been given chemotherapy (some of which may have heart-damaging side effects) and people taking medication for high blood pressure. Experts advise using HIIT exercise some days, and even-paced aerobic activity on others, because both offer benefits.

Information courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research.


"Cook This, Not That," a cookbook by David Zinczenko offers skinny comfort foods, including this recipe for a banana-mango smoothie.


1 ripe banana

3/4 cup frozen mango pieces

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy, at least 30 seconds. If the smoothie is too thick (which depends on the size of the banana), add a few splashes of water and blend again. Makes 1 serving.

Per serving: 100 calories; 70 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fat.

Charlyn Fargo is a registered dietitian with Hy-Vee in Springfield, Illinois, and a spokesperson for the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For comments or questions, contact her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @NutritionRD. To find out more about Charlyn Fargo and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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