Eat More Vegetables and Fruit

Dive into the first Healthy Habits challenge: add at least 3 servings of vegetables and fruit to your daily diet. Find recipes, nutrition tips, and coaching advice to help reach your goals.

Staff Profile: The Restaurant-Goer

“How do I add in veggies when I’m always eating out?” - Margaret Barnhart: Age 39, Sales Manager, Atlanta

Cooking Light Staffer: Margaret Barnhart

Margaret Barnhart: The Restaurant-Goer

Photo: Randy Mayor

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  • Table Set in Brightly Colored Booth

    Dine Out on More Veggies

    If you have a hard time sticking to your fruit- and vegetable-eating goals when dining out, our dietitian comes to the rescue with some simple tips.



Margaret takes clients to many lunches and dinners. A third of her meals are eaten out, and she constantly travels: “I’m pretty good with breakfast because it’s easy to do fruit and cereal or oatmeal, but the lunches and dinners get me. People say, ‘Let’s order some appetizers!’” And she’s not talking crudités.


Online menus and ratings allow easy restaurant planning: Don’t go with the default business choices; find interesting, highly rated alternatives. Once seated, seek out the vegetable-based dishes (there are more of them these days) or make a special request. Then find some fruit and veggie snacks: from the hotel’s fruit bowl in the morning, or even in a Starbucks midday.

  • Search for ethnic restaurants, if your clients are willing to try them. Chinese, Thai, Indian, and Mexican places offer lots of vegetable-based entrées and side dishes.
  • Even if the table is sharing apps, order a vegetable platter and favor it. Order entrée salads, giving you up to three servings of vegetables—just order dressings on the side and decline rich toppings.
  • Scan menus for veggie-based brothy soups, pizza (pile on the veggies and ask for half the cheese), and veggie-loaded sandwiches.
  • At a high-end restaurant, you can ask if the kitchen will build a custom veggie plate with three sides. This is getting trendy.
  • Grab lunch at a smoothie shop—but make sure you stick to a small size without lots of added sugar.
  • For a quick meal on the go, look for markets with hot and cold bars stocked with raw and cooked veggies.
  • Fast-food restaurants offer yogurt parfaits for breakfast, or side salad or fruit bowls for lunch and dinner.
  • Dried fruit keeps forever, stores at room temperature, and is convenient on a plane—a serving is just 1/4 cup.

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