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Take the Fruit and Vegetable Challenge

19 easy ways to get your 9 servings a day.

12. Toss some on the grill.

After you take your meat or fish off the grill, don't waste the hot coals. Throw some fruits and/or veggies on the grill while you're at it. You might be surprised at how great they taste!

Often, you can use the same marinade you're using for your meat. (Just marinate your fruits or veggies separately from the meat or baste them with marinade that hasn't touched the meat, so they're not exposed to raw meat juices.)

You can make a veggie kabob with chunks of vegetables (eggplant, carrot, bell pepper, mushrooms, zucchini and other squash). Soft vegetables won't need precooking, but firm vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, or broccoli, will benefit from steam or microwave cooking before they hit the grill.

13. Get them at the drive-through.

You can even get your vegetables at many fast-food chains, as long as you like salads. Wendy's, for example, offers a Caesar side salad (with 70 calories and 4 grams of fat, not including dressing) or a side salad (35 calories, 0 grams fat, not including dressing). Ask for the fat-free French, low-fat honey mustard, or reduced-fat creamy ranch dressing. Use half the packet and you'll add around 50 calories and from 0 grams to 4 grams of fat, depending on which dressing you choose.

14. Dress up your dinner plate with fruit.

Borrow a trick from restaurants, and add a beautiful fruit garnish to your dinner plate. It adds color and texture to your meal. Try orange wheels or wedges, sliced kiwi, a small branch of grapes, or a wedge of melon.

15. Drizzle on some cheese sauce.

Pour a little cheese sauce or grated cheese over a pile of broccoli spears or cauliflower, and suddenly it's a whole different ballgame. You can make a lower-fat cheese sauce using reduced-fat cheese, fat-free half-and-half, and no butter or margarine.

16. Serve your veggies raw.

Raw vegetables are sometimes more appealing than their cooked counterparts. When you have a platter of assorted raw vegetables and some delicious low-fat dip in front of you, the vegetables just seem to disappear! Try raw cauliflower or broccoli florets, cabbage, or spinach, along with the usual carrots and celery. Use a light ranch or Italian dressing as a dip, or make your own and keep it ready to go in your refrigerator.

17. Keep fruit in heavy rotation.

TV chef and radio show host Bridget Kelly says that as a mother of two, she's no longer interested in "sneaking" fruits and vegetables into her family's diet -- she goes for the all-out attack! To make sure fruit is appealing to her family, she has a trick: She serves the most perishable types soon after she returns from the grocery store and saves the hardier types for later. That means oranges and strawberries today (strawberries first because they have the shortest shelf life), bananas and grapes tomorrow, apples and mango the next.

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