Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Vegetables 101: Everything You Need to Know for a Healthier Diet

Vegetables 101: Everything You Need to Know for a Healthier Diet

Right before we enter the holiday season with all the sweets, treats, and over-eating, I wanted to take a step back and talk about something that is healthy. You all know how important vegetables are for good health. However, it’s important to know more than the basics, in order to correctly implement vegetables in your daily diet.

Consuming vegetables is crucial for good health, as they reduce the risk of developing chronic health conditions and diseases. They provide you with essential nutrients and antioxidants, and are nutritious and rich in fiber.

The recommended serving size of vegetables by US health agencies is 2.5 cups of vegetables each day, both starchy and non starchy. That's a lot of veggies! So how can you best incorporate those into your diet? And what qualifies as starchy vs. non starchy? 
Types of vegetables
The two main types of vegetables are starchy and non starchy vegetables, which mainly differ due to the total content of starch; a type of carbohydrate. Some examples of starchy vegetables are: potatoes, corn, beans, lentils, parsnips, and peas. Some examples of non starchy vegetables are: asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, eggplant, spinach, tomatoes, and zucchini.
Vegetables 101: Everything You Need to Know for a Healthier Diet

Benefits of non-starchy vegetables

Non starchy vegetables have most benefits on the body. They are low in calories, boost your hydration levels since they are high in water content (90-95%), and provide you with antioxidants and essential nutrients. They add flavor, color and nutrition to your meals and are ideal for staying fit and healthy. These are the types of vegetables I try to serve most often. In fact we normally have 2 different kinds with our dinner each night. 

Vegetables 101: Everything You Need to Know for a Healthier Diet

How to incorporate more vegetables into your diet
If you are having a hard time eating more vegetables in your daily diet, here are some great ideas on how to incorporate more:

·      Make breakfast muffins. You can make healthy breakfast muffins using garbanzo bean flour and your preferred array of vegetables. Try broccoli, tomatoes, onion, and more! It’s great for a savory breakfast on the go and it starts your day out with some protein and vegetables.

·      Add greens to your breakfast omelet or stir-fry. Greens wilt down significantly when you cook them, so you can sneak them into dishes without having them be the centerpiece for flavor.

·      Keep chopped vegetables in your fridge. Sometimes it’s just easier to reach for something pre-made. So set yourself up for success and chop up some vegetables to store in your fridge for the next few days. You can even add some to a reusable snack bag so you can bring some vegetables to snack on while you out running errands, etc..

·      Focus on filling your plate with healthy colorful vegetables. If you focus on creating your plate with the bulk of it being colorful vegetables, it becomes a habit. Play around with flavor combinations you like and add spices. There are so many great herb blends out there that don't add any extra calories, but do add lots of great flavor! 

·      Bake some vegetables for a crunchy snack. If you love a crunchy snack, thinly slice some of your favorite vegetables and them them for a healthy version of a potato or corn chip. For a delicious recipe this fall: evenly coat cauliflower with cumin, chili powder, turmeric, salt and olive oil. Bake at 450°F for 15 minutes or until your preferred level of crunch.

·      Swap carbs for vegetables. This is way better than it sounds! Use squash or cauliflower to make gnocchi, butter leaf lettuce for tacos or wraps, and sweet potatoes or zucchini for pasta. 

·      Make a green smoothie for a snack. A green smoothie is a wonderful way to get in your vegetables, have a snack, and fuel your body. If you aren’t used to these types of recipes, it can get some getting used to. You can always try adding  almond butter or peanut butter or flavored protein powder to a green smoothie to add some extra sweetness! 

Vegetables 101: Everything You Need to Know for a Healthier Diet

1 comment:

  1. This is so good Laura! My mom drilled this into me as a kid. Luckily I grew up liking veggies of all kinds!