From a health standpoint, vegetables are an unbeatable food: naturally nutrient-rich; better tasting than a vitamin pill; low in calories; high in fiber and packed with disease-fighting phytonutrients. All types of vegetables can be nourishing and delicious.
To maximize your health with vegetables, nutrition experts suggest at least 3 to 5 servings per day – but why stop there? With so many ways to enjoy spring-time goodness, you could easily eat vegetables at breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Here are a dozen daily ways to treat yourself to good health!
- Asparagus: Saute in olive oil with garlic and a hit of lemon zest for a refreshing and seasonal dish. Roasted asparagus is a great finger food for snacking on!
- Broccoli and cauliflower: Versatile and very healthful – eat them raw (with dip if you like) or cooked, in a salad or even a slaw.
- Carrots: Sweet, crunchy, good for your teeth, eyes and heart! Perfect raw (as a snack or salad) or cooked in a stew.
- Peppers: Green, red, yellow, orange or even purple! Enjoy peppers in a salad, stir-fry, or casserole or as a snack.
- Spinach: A salad of baby spinach leaves with pears or apples can turn anyone into a real spinach lover.
- Onions: The zesty onion family (scallions, leeks and garlic, too!) offer some powerful antioxidant nutrients.
- Beets: If you’ve never liked beets, try them in a new way – like roasted, grilled or lightly steamed in the microwave. They increase inflammation-fighting nitric oxide.
- Mushrooms: Just a mushroom or two adds rich flavor to a casserole, soup, stew, stir-fry or even a tossed green salad.
- Leaf and romaine lettuce: Rule of thumb for a healthy salad – the darker green or red the lettuce leaves, the more nutrients you get.
- Green beans: beans offer some fiber and a little bit of protein, along with vitamins and minerals.
- Tomatoes: Cooking increases the availability of some tomato nutrients – so enjoy sauce, paste or cooked tomatoes.
Many people don’t eat vegetables until dinner. Make a commit to your health – Check off the new ways you want to try to enjoy more veggies during the day:
Add vegetables at breakfast by:
Adding vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, onion, green or red peppers to an omelet
Add vegetables at lunch and snack by:
Try lettuce wrap or veggies bun
Lettuce wraps can be a part of several types of dishes, and are often used to make low-carb sandwiches and bunless burgers.
Additionally, many types of veggies, such as portobello mushroom caps, sliced sweet potatoes and sliced eggplant make excellent buns.
Make veggie smoothie – Smoothies make for a refreshing breakfast or snack.
Experiment with veggie noodles
Veggie noodles are easy to make, and a great way to get more veggies in your diet. They’re also an excellent low-carb substitute for high-carb foods, such as pasta.
They are made by inserting vegetables into a spiralizer, which processes them into noodle-like shapes. Try zucchini, squash, sweet potato or carrots.
Try zucchini lasagna
Traditional lasagna is a pasta-based dish made by layering lasagna noodles with sauce, cheese and meat. It’s tasty, but it’s also typically very high in carbs.
A great way to prepare this delicious dish so that it has a lower carb content and more nutrients is to replace the lasagna noodles with strips of zucchini.
Zucchini is a rich source of B vitamins and vitamin C, in addition to trace minerals and fiber.
Make cauliflower rice
Cauliflower rice is significantly lower in carbs than regular rice, with only 5 grams of carbs per cup, compared to 45 grams in a cup (158 grams) of rice.
Additionally, cauliflower is significantly higher in nutrients than rice. It is particularly high in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and potassium.
Add a bag of sugar snap peas, carrots, peppers, celery and/or zucchini sticks to your snack
Add extra vegetables to soup
Choose kale chips or nori instead of potato chips
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