Tips for eating enough vegetables
Vegetables should not be considered torture to eat; they're good!
It is not just children and teenagers who skimp when it comes to eating vegetables; adults often do not eat enough of the good stuff either.
Eating fresh vegetables will provide the most benefit to your health, but any kind of vegetable, including the frozen or canned version, will boost your immune system and help you live longer. Vegetables have curative values. Vegetables also help prevent disease and assist the body in repairing itself.
Over-cooking vegetables destroys some of their valuable elements, including vitamins A, B and C. Fleshy root vegetables, like carrots and turnips, are a great source of vitamin B. Vegetable seeds are a good source of proteins and carbohydrates. The stem, fruits and leaves of vegetables contain minerals, water and roughage, as well as vitamins, which are essential to maintaining our health.
Do not confine yourself to eating green vegetables. Branch out. Introduce yourself and your family to tubers, legumes, and starchy roots such as sweet potatoes and white potatoes, which will provide energy to your body. Starchy roots are called farinaceous vegetables.
Steam rather than cook vegetables for maximum nutritional benefit. Most vegetables do not need to be peeled unless the peeling is so tough that it is inedible. Many of the minerals will be lost if you peel the vegetable.
Eat raw vegetables as snacks. Carrots, celery, radishes, green pepper slices, cucumber slices and even raw potatoes are great snacks. Pre-peeled miniature carrots are available at your grocery store. Open the bag and pop them in your mouth. It does not get much easier than that.
Snap peas are sweet and wonderful when eaten raw. You can dress up your celery with some cream cheese and this makes a delicious snack. Raw cauliflower and broccoli are nutritious and appealing served raw. Salad dressings, especially Ranch dressing, make a good dip for raw vegetables. All of the above foods can, of course, also be cooked and served.
For the best nutritional value, choose vegetables that contain potassium, such as white beans, tomato products (sauce, paste, juice), sweet potatoes, white potatoes, winter squash, kidney beans (which are great right out of the can!), split peas, spinach, lentils, lima beans, beets and soybeans.
When you use fresh, as opposed to canned or frozen vegetables, you are reducing your sodium intake, which is also good.
Stock up on a variety of frozen vegetables that you can quickly zap in the microwave and serve for lunch or dinner.
If you are crunched for time, purchase pre-washed bags of salads, which come in many varieties, and then toss in some fresh vegetables, such as carrots or tomatoes, and you are good to go. Avocados are an excellent source of minerals and an appetizing addition to any salad, as a well as sandwich.
When you order pizza, request a vegetable topping, which can include green peppers, onions and mushrooms, as well as non-traditional choices like broccoli and spinach. Purchase a wok and stir-fry. Not only is stir-fried food good, but your children will get a kick out of learning a new cooking technique.
You can include vegetables in meatloaf, a roast, muffins, quick breads and casseroles. Shred zucchini or carrots and add to the main dish.
Potatoes that are pureed and cooked can be used to thicken soups, stews and even gravy. During the summer, grill vegetable kabobs brushed lightly with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs. Vegetables roasted on a gas or charcoal grill are an excellent alternative to steaming. Kitchen appliances like juicers, food processors, graters and shredders make it easier to incorporate vegetables into your meals.
If vegetables, particularly raw ones, are readily accessible your children, and you, will be more likely to grab them to snack on rather than reach for a candy bar or cookie. Keep them sitting in a cup of ice water in the refrigerator so that they are cold and crisp.