Grains – A Great Way to Get Your Fruit and Veggies

Jula Kinnaird
Working to make half your plate fruits and vegetables as called for by the new MyPlate Dietary Guidelines?
Grains can help!  Grains, fruits and veggies make perfect partners.  Grains can also provide an easy, more palatable way to work these important foods into our daily diets.  
When doing meal planning or shopping, focus on fruits and vegetables in season, and make a point of trying a new variety whenever possible.  If you have kids, get them involved in the selection, then keep the interaction going at home in the kitchen all the way to the plate!  Even little hands can help wash the produce – or simply supervise.
You don’t even need a recipe to improvise your own tasty nutrition-packed grains and fruit/veggie combos:
• Use fruit as a topper at breakfast for cereal, oatmeal, even toast.
• Boost the health and taste quotient of your lunchtime sandwich by accessorizing it with your favorite raw vegetables.
• Build a healthy afternoon snack with whole grain crackers topped with lite cream cheese and sliced cucumbers or strawberries.
• Pack more nutrition into that family favorite, spaghetti, by adding carrots to the sauce.
When you do want a recipe, here are two winning combos to try.  The Banana/Orange Muffins are a great way to use those over-ripe bananas in the fruit bowl, and the Broccoli Swiss Quiche is a vegetarian dish the whole family will love.
Banana/Orange Muffins
½ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
¼ cup honey
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Directions: Preheat oven to 400°F. 
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir well. In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, oats, flour, baking powder, salt and nuts. Combine with liquid ingredients and mix slightly until dry ingredients are moistened.
Spray muffin cups with non-stick spray and fill 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Servings: 12 muffins
Calories/Serving: 210
Nutrition: (includes walnuts) One serving provides approximately: 210 calories, 6 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 7 g fat (2 g saturated), 37 mg cholesterol, 22 mcg folate, 1 mg iron, 193 mg sodium.

Broccoli Swiss Quiche with Whole Wheat Pie Crust
Ingredient List: 

Whole Wheat Pastry Crust 

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour 
1 teaspoon sugar 
¾ teaspoon salt 
5 tablespoons vegetable oil 
2 tablespoons milk 

Ingredient List: 
Quiche Filling

3 eggs
1 cup broccoli, cooked and chopped 
1 1/2 cups low-fat Swiss cheese, shredded 
8 ounces evaporated skim milk 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 small onion, chopped 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon pepper 
1 medium tomato, sliced 
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese  

Directions for Crust:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Into 8 or 9-inch quiche plate or pie plate, stir together flour, sugar and salt. With fork, whip together oil and milk; pour over flour mixture. Mix with fork till all flour is dampened. Press dough evenly against bottom and sides of plate. Crimp edges.

Line the unpricked pastry shell with a double thickness of foil. Bake in oven for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes more or till pastry is set and dry. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F; add quiche filling (see below). If necessary, cover edge of crust with foil to prevent over browning.

Directions for Quiche Filling:
Whip eggs with wire whisk; add broccoli, shredded Swiss cheese, evaporated milk, garlic, onion, salt and pepper; stir until blended.

Pour into prepared pastry crust. Slice tomato and place on top of quiche mixture; sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until quiche tests done in center. Protect pastry crust with foil at end of cooking time to prevent over browning. Cool on wire rack for 5 to10 minutes before cutting.

Servings: Provides 6 servings.
Calories/Serving: 309 Calories/serving
Nutrition: Nutrition analysis: One serving provides approximately: 309 calories, 20 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 16 g fat (5 g saturated), 122 mg cholesterol, 39 mcg folate, 1 mg iron and 986 mg sodium.