Dear Heloise: I’ve decided to stop counting calories and look toward nutrition. Here’s my question: Since I take my vitamins faithfully every day, does it matter whether or not I eat the required amount of vegetables and fruit? I’m not especially fond of either.

 — Derek T., Tipton, Indiana

Derek, yes, it matters! Eating fruits and vegetables provides you with things your vitamin pills don’t. To begin with, a vitamin pill does not give you fiber. There are many components in foods that, as yet, cannot be packaged in a pill form. Eating an apple, for example, will provide substances such as “phytochemicals” that are advantageous to you. So, eat your fruits and vegetables, but try various recipes to wake up your taste buds.

— Heloise

Breakfast smoothie

Dear Heloise: Every morning, I whip up a healthy smoothie for my husband and me. It tastes great and gives us energy. Here are the ingredients:

1 1/4 cups chopped kale

1 1/4 cups frozen cubed fruit (mango, pineapple or banana)

1 cup fresh orange juice

1/4 cup fresh mint

1 teaspoon organic honey (optional)

1 tablespoon plain yogurt (optional)

2 scoops of whey protein powder

We cube the fruit, place it in plastic bags and freeze it ahead of time. This is so filling that we don’t eat breakfast, but we do eat a healthy lunch and dinner.

 — Kassidy M., Venice, Florida

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