Welcome to The Ohio Department of Aging

Skip Navigation

Please Note: You are viewing the non-styled version of The Ohio Department of Aging. Either your browser does not support Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) or it is disabled. We suggest upgrading your browser to the latest version of your favorite Internet browser.


Ohio Department of Aging Boomerang: It all comes back to you!

Boomerang: It all comes back to you!

My Life - September 2009

Harvesting the Benefits of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Hiding Them in Plain Sight Is a Great Way to Get More

You know you are supposed to have at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables. You know this because everyone from your mother, your doctor and even your old fifth grade health teacher told you so. You know all the good things produce can do for you - how they are naturally low in calories and provide essential nutrients and dietary fiber that may protect you from chronic diseases. You know all of this and include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Right?

Millions of Americans fail to consume the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables in their diets.Don't feel bad, you are not the only one. Millions of Americans fail to consume the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables in their diets. Thankfully, there are many ways to add produce to your diet that are healthful, easy and tasty. There are even creative ways to serve fruits and veggies to even that most finicky eater who rebels at the mere sight of something green on the dinner plate.

  • Add drained fruit or shredded carrots to muffins or quick breads, or replace up to 1/2 cup of the butter with applesauce in many baked goods.
  • Add shredded carrots, zucchini, potatoes, cooked dried beans or other vegetables to soups, stews, sauces or casseroles.
  • Use low-sodium tomato juice for some of the liquid in your vegetable soup.
  • Make a fruit smoothie instead of a milkshake: Blend fat free milk or yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit or frozen, 100-percent juice concentrate.
  • Use equal amounts of cooked cauliflower and potatoes when you make mashed potatoes.
  • Give your omelets a boost by adding a handful of chopped veggies like peppers, onions, mushrooms or cooked potatoes.

Or you can hide vegetables in plain sight with these recipes - even the most finicky eaters love lasagna and pizza!


Vegetable Lasagna
(9 small servings)


6 lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, cut into small pieces (or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder)
16 ounces canned tomato sauce (no salt added)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
A dash of pepper (to taste)
1 large tomato, chopped
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix zucchini, mushrooms, onions and garlic with tomato sauce and seasonings in a saucepan. Cover, cook 15 minutes, then set aside. Mix cheeses and chopped tomato. Spread 1/3 of the sauce mixture over the bottom of an 8" x 8" baking dish. Add half of the uncooked noodles and half of the cheese mixture. Repeat layers and end with 1/3 of the sauce mixture. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand five minutes before serving.


Fresh Vegetable Pizza
(6 servings)


1 prepared 12-inch pizza crust
1/2 medium red pepper, sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons oil
1/2 cup torn spinach leaves
1 sliced plum tomato
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a small skillet, sauté red pepper, mushrooms, squash and onion in two teaspoons oil until crisp-tender. Arrange spinach leaves on pizza crust; arrange sautéed vegetables, tomato and cheese on spinach. Bake pizza on cookie sheet until cheeses are melted, about 10 minutes. Mix olive oil, vinegar and herbs; drizzle over pizza. Cut into six wedges and serve immediately.