Vegetables are nutritious, colorful, flavorful, and can be prepared in lots of ways. They are naturally low in calories, fat, and sodium, don’t contain cholesterol, and are good sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
- Carrots, leafy green vegetables and sweet potatoes are good sources of vitamin A. Peppers and tomatoes are good sources of vitamin C. Other vegetables are good sources of folic acid, niacin, thiamin and vitamin B-6.
- Vegetables also have important minerals like potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium. They are also packed with fiber, and fiber can keep you full, help your digestive system, and help lower your cholesterol. Vegetables can even help prevent cancer!
- Remember that beans, corn, and peas are more like a carbohydrate than a vegetable. For other vegetables, choose a rainbow of colors whenever you can.
Get Creative With Vegi Prep
- Each week, make it a goal to try one new vegetable that you don’t usually eat
- Keep washed, ready-to-eat vegetables in the fridge and easy to reach. How many times does someone in your family open the refrigerator door to see what there is to eat, and take one of the first foods they see? So put some cut up vegetables where they can be seen first. Also, set them out when meals and snacks are eaten.
- If you’re on the run, take a bag of vegetables with you to snack on. If you don’t have time to wash or cut them, stop in the supermarket to see if there are cut up vegetables ready to eat. Carrots, celery, or zucchini sticks are good low calorie snacks.
- Serve vegetables with other favorite foods. For instance, have a mixed vegetable salad or raw vegetable plate with pizza or burgers, and add veggies on top too!
- Add vegetables to other foods: Put tomato slices, sprouts, and greens like spinach or lettuce into a sandwich; Mix pasta or rice with summer squash or zucchini, red pepper strips, or broccoli; Add a layer of spinach to lasagna; Grate zucchini or carrots into meatloaf or burgers before cooking them.
- Add something to vegetables: Sprinkle with parmesan cheese or top with a melted low-fat cheese. Spread veggies with a little low fat cream cheese or make a dip by blending nonfat cottage cheese or yogurt with a few tablespoons of light salad dressing (or dry salad dressing or soup mix); Dip them in salsa (that has additional vegetables in it!) or hummus.
- Try different methods of cooking vegetables: microwaving, steaming, stir-frying, baking, boiling, broiling, grilling, etc., and try adding flavor with different spices like garlic, thyme, oregano, or basil.