Throughout our lives we are told to eat our vegetables. Vegetables are rich in nutrients that have been known to have many potential health benefits such as preventing the risk of certain diseases (cardiovascular, cancer, obesity, etc).
“The average American eats only 43% of the recommended fruits and only 57% of the recommended vegetables each day. ”
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that you fill half of your plate with vegetables in order to reach the recommended daily intake (2-3 cups). Non-veggie eaters and the average American may have trouble reaching these recommended levels, but luckily there are easy ways to incorporate more of these colorful foods into our diet!
Juicing - One of today’s hottest trends is to juice vegetables and fruits. This technique makes it easier to get a day's worth of vitamins and minerals.
Double Servings - When cooking, add double the normal amt. of vegetables to your dishes, you won’t even know they’re there!
Meatless Mondays - Have a veggie-filled day and go meatless for one or more days out of the week.
Starch Swap - Switch out breads and pastas for starchy vegetables (lettuce wraps & spaghetti squash). This way you can have your starch and eat it too!
Spice It Up - Add spices and herbs to your vegetables. This way you gain extra nutrients (antioxidants) and make your plate more appetizing!
Some of us may be unaware that not all vegetables are the same, and some are higher in calories than others. Starches are found in plants as the storage form of glucose. Essentially being glucose, a starch provides food with a high carbohydrate count and more calories than a non-starchy food. Starchy foods are breads, pastas, pastries and surprisingly enough some vegetables (potatoes, corns, beans, etc). Vegetables that are high in starch are still packed with vitamins and minerals, just with more carbs and calories. Non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, zucchini, brussel sprouts, etc) are great sources of fiber, keeping you full longer and have less than half of the calories as starchy vegetables, helping with weight loss.
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