Diane May Nutrition Blog

One More Reason To Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables

March 4th, 2019

There are so many reasons why we need to consume lots of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits and vegetables reduce our risk of age related disease, dementia, oxidative stress, cognitive decline and poor cognition. But did you know that it can reduce our risk of anxiety and depression? There have been a number of studies regarding fruit and vegetables and mood, but the latest study, published in Social Science and Medicine, followed 50,000 people in the UK in regard to their fruit and vegetable consumption and their mood.  There have been previous studies regarding plant consumption and mood, but this was the largest scale study. The results showed a correlation between fruit and vegetable consumption and well being. On average, there is an improvement in mood when people consumed at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day.  Consumption of plants is low in the United states. We should set a goal of 8-11 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, with an emphasis on the vegetables. What is a serving? 

  • A serving of vegetable: one cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked.
  • A serving of fruit is a 1/2 cup cut or one small whole fruit such as a small apple.

It can seem daunting getting in all those servings, so how do you get them all in?

  • Add dark leafy greens such as spinach in your lasagna
  • Puree leftover vegetables into soups
  • Put greens, cucumber and tomato into sandwiches
  • Make dips/salsa with vegetables and fruit such as citrus and tomato
  • Bake with fruit purees instead of added sugar
  • Make zucchini or carrot noodles instead of pasta
  • Try cauliflower rice or whip instead of grains or potatoes
  • Make ice cubes with pureed fruit

Sample day of adding in your fruits and vegetables:

  • Breakfast: Fruit smoothie with non fat Greek yogurt or omelet with mixed vegetables
  • Lunch: Mixed salad with lots of vegetables or bag of steam fresh vegetables
  • Dinner: Add two sides of steamed vegetables such as broccoli and carrots
  • Snacks: Small pear and sliced peppers with hummus

There are so many benefits to consuming more plants, but the added benefit of increased mental well being is a huge incentive to prioritize consumption of fruits and vegetables. Make sure to eat the rainbow-vary the colors of the fruits and vegetables you consume and try different cooking methods to enhance the flavors and reduce boredom. Eat your fruits and vegetables-do not use supplements or supplemental powders to get in those servings. The next time you are feeling blue, reach for an apple instead of that cupcake.  Your brain will thank you!

Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

From: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2008

Roasting isn’t usually the first cooking method you think of for cauliflower but the results are quite delicious. The florets are cut into thick slices and tossed with extra-virgin olive oil and herbs. Wherever the flat surfaces come into contact with the hot roasting pan, a deep browning occurs that results in a sweet, nutty flavor.

Ingredients     4 servings

  • 8 cups 1-inch-thick slices cauliflower florets, (about 1 large head; see Tip)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese


  • Active   10 m
  • Ready In   35m
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Toss cauliflower, oil, marjoram, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast until starting to soften and brown on the bottom, 15 to 20 minutes. Toss the cauliflower with vinegar and sprinkle with cheese. Return to the oven and roast until the cheese is melted and any moisture has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes more.
  • Tip: To prepare florets from a whole head of cauliflower, remove outer leaves. Slice off the thick stem. With the head upside down and holding a knife at a 45° angle, slice into the smaller stems with a circular motion—removing a “plug” from the center of the head. Break or cut florets into the desired size.
  • Cut Down on Dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in tip-top shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.

Nutrition information


  • Serving size: about 1 cup
  • Per serving: 152 calories; 10 g fat(3 g sat); 3 g fiber; 10 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 90 mcg folate; 7 mg cholesterol; 5 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 99 IU vitamin A; 75 mg vitamin C; 163 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 362 mg sodium; 519 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (125% daily value), Folate (22% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: ½
  • Exchanges: 1 vegetable, ½ lean meat, 1½ fat