Nutrition Quick Tip: Use Produce as an Edible Container

There's a surefire way to sneak more fruits and vegetables into your diet: Serve up your meals inside produce.

Who needs a bowl when you have a spaghetti squash? Halved, deseeded and partially gutted, it serves as a concave container and noodle substitute for your favorite pasta recipe. Plus, it's fat-free, low in calories and full of vitamins C, A, B-6 and K, plus thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate, according to Care2.

Add your favorite sauce, and you've got a flavorful and healthy meal. Here are five other kinds of produce that make healthy edible containers.

1. Lettuce: Romaine, Bibb and butter lettuces have moonlighting careers as wrappers. These vitamin A and beta-carotene emcees give tuna salad and healthy stir-fries a comestible place to land. (Before they land in your mouth, that is).

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2. Melons: Halved and deseeded cantaloupes, honeydew and watermelons double as bowls for cottage cheese, yogurt and granola. These vitamin C and hydration deliverers also work great as serving dishes for fruit salad. Cut up your favorite fruits, add a splash of fresh lemon juice and some chopped mint, and serve the salad up inside your favorite variety of melon.

3. Tomatoes: Find comfort, as well as vitamins C and A, by making inside-out, mini lasagnas. Simply stuff all the lasagna fixings inside hollowed-out tomatoes, and bake them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

4. Bell Peppers: Also known as sweet peppers, these sturdy holders are beefy enough to carry meats, veggies and grains. Like tomatoes, they've got vitamin C cornered.

5. Zucchini: These oblong squash are not only great for savory meat or legume fillings, they can also deliver dessert when stuffed with honey-sweetened ricotta cheese and lemon zest, or yam mash seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. If, for whatever reason, you don't eat all of your edible containers and you aren't saving them for leftovers, compost them. According to research done by the University of California, Davis, composting is good for you, your garden and the environment.

What's your nutrition quick tip? Leave it in the comments or email your tip to nutrition editor Nicole Reino.

More: How to Start a Sustainable Home Garden

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About the Author

Nicole Reino

Nicole Reino is the former nutrition editor for She's a yogi, runner, cook and real-foods enthusiast.
Nicole Reino is the former nutrition editor for She's a yogi, runner, cook and real-foods enthusiast.

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