From a health standpoint, vegetables are an unbeatable food: naturally nutrient-rich; better tasting than a vitamin pill; low in calories; high in fiber and packed with disease-fighting phytonutrients. All types of vegetables can be nourishing and delicious – fresh, frozen, canned and juiced.
To maximize your health with vegetables, nutrition experts suggest at least 3 to 5 servings per day – but why stop there? With so many ways to enjoy springtime goodness, you could easily eat vegetables at breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Here are a dozen daily ways to treat yourself to good health!
- Asparagus: Sauté in olive oil with garlic and a hit of lemon zest for a refreshing and seasonal dish. Roasted asparagus is a great finger food for snacking on!
- Broccoli and cauliflower: Versatile and very healthful – eat them raw (with dip if you like) or cooked, in a salad or even a slaw.
- Carrots: Sweet, crunchy, good for your teeth, eyes and heart! Perfect raw (as a snack or salad) or cooked in a stew.
- Peppers: Green, red, yellow, orange or even purple! Enjoy peppers in a salad, stir-fry, or casserole or as a snack.
- Spinach: A salad of baby spinach leaves with pears or apples can turn anyone into a real spinach lover.
- Onions: The zesty onion family (scallions, leeks and garlic, too!) offers some powerful antioxidant nutrients.
- Peas: Fresh, frozen or even canned, peas are a treat to eat and they are very popular with small children.
- Beets: If you’ve never liked beets, try them in a new way – like roasted, grilled or lightly steamed in the microwave. They increase inflammation-fighting nitric oxide.
- Mushrooms: Just a mushroom or two adds rich flavor to a casserole, soup, stew, stir-fry or even a tossed green salad.
- Leaf and romaine lettuce: Rule of thumb for a healthy salad – the darker green or red the lettuce leaves, the more nutrients you get.
- Green, yellow or purple beans: Like their pea ‘cousins,’ beans offer some fiber and a little bit of protein, along with vitamins and minerals.
- Tomatoes: Cooking increases the availability of some tomato nutrients – so enjoy canned sauce, paste and chunks
Many people don’t eat vegetables until dinner. Make a commit to your health – Check off the new ways you want to try to enjoy more veggies during the day:
I can add vegetables at breakfast by:
□ Adding vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, onion, green or red peppers to an omelet
I can add vegetables at lunch and snack by:
□ Adding leafy greens, cucumber, or peppers to sandwiches
□ Adding different vegetables to a green salad, like broccoli, green beans, asparagus or peas
□ Adding a bag of sugar snap peas, carrots, peppers, celery and/or zucchini sticks to my snack
□ Adding extra vegetables to soup
□ Choosing kale chips or nori instead of potato chips