Throughout our lives, we have been told repeatedly to eat our vegetables. Vegetables have proven to be a valuable part of our daily nutrient intake and the key to keeping our bodies healthy. Experts, such as the USDA, suggest that adults should consume about 5-13 servings of vegetables per day, depending on age, physical activity, gender, and other health components. For an average person, this equivalates to 2-2 1/2 cups a day. Knowing this, it is vital to ensure that we are getting the most out of the vegetables we consume.
Eat A Variety
Different vegetable have different benefits, so it is important to eat a wide variety. For example, spinach is rich in antioxidants, which can help with reducing risks for chronic diseases, including cancer and high blood pressure. Carrots are filled with beta-carotene, which offers a good source of Vitamin A. They are also a great source of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and Potassium. Asparagus can help with liver function and protect against toxicity. Folate, which is also found in asparagus, can help neural tube birth defects during pregnancy. Many vegetables are a great source of soluble fiber, which can lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar levels, and increase the good bacteria in your digestive system. To ensure that you are getting enough variety in your diet, try to keep your plates colorful and try new ways to cook vegetables you may have not liked in the past. This can also be a fun way to get kids to consume their vegetables!
Add Vegetables to Every Meal
In order to ensure that your body is getting enough vegetables, try adding a vegetable portion to every meal. For breakfast, you can add vegetables to your eggs or omelet. Mushrooms, peppers, and spinach are a few popular choices to add to eggs. For lunch and dinner, there are numerous recipes that call for vegetables, such as cauliflower pizza or zucchini lasagna. You can also add a salad to any meal. For a snack, consider eating carrots with hummus, cucumbers with avocado, or other delicious veggie snack. There are also desserts, such as zucchini or pumpkin muffins, that will make eating vegetables enjoyable for the whole family. Doing this instead of reaching for chips or other quick, unhealthy snacks will add to the benefits.
Stock Up On Vegetables
If you have vegetables in the house, you are more likely to eat them. While fresh produce may seem to be the healthiest, frozen and canned produce are also good choices. When purchasing canned or frozen vegetables, be sure to look for any added sugar or sodium. Sodium is often added to canned products to help with preservation. Canned vegetables are great because they have a much later expiration date then fresh produce and you can buy them in bulk. When purchasing fresh produce, it is important to know the proper way to choose the freshest vegetables, such as avoiding ones with blemishes or squishy spots. Also, you should only buy what you think you can consume before they go bad. Some fresh produce do not have a long life after becoming right. Also, it is best to buy vegetables that are in season.
Drink Your Veggies
In addition to eating vegetables, you can also drink them. For example, blend kale or spinach with fruit and other flavorings to create a healthy smoothie for a quick breakfast. The fruit will mask the taste of the vegetables, but it will still give the benefits. You can also drink store bought vegetable drinks, such as V8, but watch out for added sodium. It is best to create your own mixture to reap the most benefits.
Vegetables can be just as delicious as they are healthy. Adding vegetables to every meal and keeping them colorful can ensure that you reap the most benefits from them. Trying different vegetables and recipes can be easy and allow vegetables to become a daily part of your food consumption. Knowing how to add vegetables to your diet will keep your body healthy and strong.