Ideas for Eating More Vegetables
Your mom was right: eat your vegetables! But did you know that only 11 percent of Americans eat the recommended amounts of vegetables and fruit daily?
People know that they should eat more produce. Vegetables and fruits are chock full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are also low in calories and can help you lose weight.
Vegetables and fruits contain substances called "phytonutrients." These are compounds that help the plant fight off disease. They are powerful defenders of our own health, too, fighting chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and blood pressure.
How to eat more veggies? Convenience is the key. Explore all forms of vegetables: fresh, frozen, canned, pre-washed and pre-cut.
- Frozen vegetables are a nutritious choice, as they are processed and flash frozen soon after being picked. In doing so, the vitamins and minerals, color and taste is preserved. Think of frozen corn, asparagus, artichoke hearts, and mixed baby vegetable blend. They can be the start of, or an important part of, a great meal.
- Canned vegetables are very healthy as long as you choose the no-salt-added version. Roma tomatoes, cooked dried beans, beets, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, and chilies are all widely loved.
- Support your local farms and produce stands by buying fresh produce in season. A love of good, healthy food often starts with fond memories of eating fresh produce in season.
- Try new veggies whenever possible, and experiment to see if you like them cooked or raw. Add them to the dishes you're making. Never serve a meal without vegetables.
More Quick Ideas
- Drizzle low-fat salad dressing or a yogurt dip on baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, pepper strips, cucumber spears, celery sticks, asparagus stalks, and any vegetable you like.
- Toss pre-washed salad greens with tomato, avocado, red onion, and low-fat dressing, or add some beets, walnuts, sliced pear, and a bit of cheese. Baby spinach goes very well with sliced cucumber, sliced strawberries or mandarin oranges and a light dressing of oil and rice vinegar.
- Lettuce and tomato are always great on a sandwich, but what about roasted peppers, eggplant, avocado, or portabella mushrooms?
- Pizza is a vehicle for a wide array of roasted vegetables, as are soups, stews, and omelets.
- Drink low-salt vegetable juice at breakfast or anytime. It has a high nutrient density.
Re-think Your Plate
Put the emphasis on veggies at mealtime. Fill half your plate with vegetables. Go to MyPyramid.gov to find out how many servings of vegetables you need. Learn about the different subgroups of vegetables: dark green, orange, starchy, other vegetables, and dry beans and peas. Did you know that you need a serving of dark green or dark orange vegetables or fruits at least every other day?
Here's a new website full of ideas to help you increase your intake of produce at:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Produce for Better Health Foundation
Learn More @ About.com
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