Don’t Forget Your Vegetables!
We hear it all the time. Eat more vegetables. Add more greens. Make your plate colorful. The fact that vegetables are good for us, is not a new message. So, why do we seem to have such a hard time fitting them in our diet?
Vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories, plus they are loaded with good-for-you nutrients such as vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber. Vitamin C is imperative to keeping our immune systems healthy and potassium regulates blood pressure – very important things! Most adults need 2 ½ – 3 cups of vegetables per day. Let’s look beyond the side salad and bump up your intake today.
Easy Ways to Add Veggies to Your Diet
- Make snack sized portions: chop up bell peppers, broccoli or celery ahead of time and put into individual containers. Add a side of hummus or Greek yogurt dip for different twist.
- Shop sales: When frozen or canned vegetables go on sale, stock up! These are great to add to a stir fry or soup. Rinsing canned veggies can decrease the sodium while keeping the convenience.
- Roast in big batches: A household favorite is to roast diced vegetables on the weekend and enjoy during the week as a side dish. Sweet potatoes are especially great this way -one sweet potato provides over 100% of your daily vitamin A needs, which keeps eyes healthy.
- Blend them: Add handfuls of spinach or kale to your favorite fruit smoothie. The beautiful green color delivers a boost of antioxidants and you won’t taste any difference.
- Don’t forget the beans: Beans are cost effective, nutrient dense and easy to prepare. Add them to anything: salads, tacos, soups, eggs or mash them on top of a piece of toast. ½ cup of black beans are an excellent source of fiber which helps achieve weight and cholesterol goals.
Vegetables are easily left out because we can only eat so many plain, raw vegetables. I encourage clients to change how they prepare or season them. This adds some excitement to the plain vegetable try they were doing before. Finding ways to incorporate vegetables into dishes you already know and love, will make the adjustment easier.
Ellen Thomsen, MS, RD, LMNT, CDE is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist and Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner. She is the diabetes education program coordinator at CHI Health and sees patients at the Millard Clinic. She works with patients to identify root causes to health conditions and make changes to improve overall health. Ellen’s passion is to help others develop lifestyle habits that allow them to feel their best.