NDSU Extension - Benson County


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Half Your Plate Meal Ideas

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

When you look at your meal, keep in mind that half your plate should be filled with fresh, frozen, dried, or canned fruits and vegetables.  Sometimes, incorporating fruits and vegetables can be difficult.  This is especially true if you and your family are not use to cooking with fruits and vegetables regularly.  Here are just a few simply ways to fill half of your plate with vitamin packed, nutritious foods.


  • Top your cereal with bananas or fresh or dried berries.
  • Make a smoothie with frozen, canned or fresh fruits. Add yogurt or juice and blend.
  • Add chopped veggies (peppers, onions, spinach) to your omelet or scrambled eggs.


  • Pack a whole piece of fruit (apple, orange, pear, etc.) to enjoy with your lunch. Rinse it in water at home before you leave.
  • Add veggies, such as spinach, cucumber slices or tomato slices, to your sandwich.


  • Have cut-up fruit such as cantaloupe or watermelon in containers in your fridge where there are easy to see.
  • Keep some dried fruit such as raisins or dried cranberries in a plastic bag for quick snacks.
  • Try freezing red or green grapes as a sweet treat.


  • Have steamed vegetables as a side dish.
  • Add extra veggies to soups or casseroles. Add shredded carrots to chili. Try adding some frozen veggies such as peas during the last few minutes of cooking brown rice.
  • Enjoy fresh or canned fruit as your dessert. Try sprinkling apple slices with cinnamon to enhance their natural sweetness.

Here is a recipe for autumn vegetable succotash.  It is a delicious blend of vegetables that would be perfect for any meal.  Enjoy!

Chicken and Broccoli Bake


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup onion (diced)
  • 2 garlic clove (finely chopped)
  • 2 cups bell pepper (red, diced)
  • 2 cups zucchini (diced)
  • 2 cups summer squash (yellow, diced)
  • 3 cups lima beans (frozen)
  • 3 cups corn kernels (frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons sage (fresh, coarsely chopped)


In a skillet over medium-high heat, add oil.  Add onion; cook until translucent (2 minutes). Add garlic, bell peppers, zucchini, squash, lima beans, and corn.

3. Season as desired; cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender (10 minutes). Stir in sage and serve.


Makes: 8 servings.



  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, More Matters Recipes
  • Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service
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