National Nutrition Month®
Throughout this month, we will be focusing on the importance of good nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle. This involves consuming the right amount of calories, being knowledgeable about what you are eating, and making sure you are getting the proper nutrients your body needs!
Vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. According to the USDA, vegetables provide important vitamins and minerals such as potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Diets rich in these nutrients may provide a variety of health benefits such as the following: healthy blood pressure from potassium, reduced blood cholesterol from dietary fiber, healthy eyes and skin from vitamin A, and healthy teeth and gums from vitamin C. To learn more, visit: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/vegetables-why.html
Here are some tips on how to incorporate more veggies into your day:
Make it quick.
Try steaming fresh or frozen vegetables in the microwave in a bowl of water for a quick and easy side dish. You can also cut up a batch of veggies like peppers, onions, or broccoli ahead of time so they are ready to throw into a salad or main dish when you are ready.
Try incorporating as many different colors as possible into your dish. Find vegetables that are red, orange, purple, or dark green; these tend to be full of vitamins and minerals. Foods like bell peppers, cabbage, spinach, or even black beans can really liven up a salad and also add lots of flavor!
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here is a green veggie-filled sandwich to
get you in the spirit!
If you’re worried about your fresh vegetables going bad before you get a chance to use them, stock up on frozen or canned vegetables. They last longer than fresh vegetables, which will ensure you always have some on hand. They are also quick and easy to add to any meal. Just make sure to look for healthy options: e.g., ones with little or no salt added.
Try new things.
Check your local farmer’s market for new seasonal vegetables or browse your grocery store for new ones you may not have tried yet. Make the most of vegetables that are in season; they’ll provide better flavor and may be less expensive. Don’t be afraid to try something new. You may just find a new favorite!
Switch it up.
Eating nutritiously doesn’t have to mean salads for every meal. Try a vegetable soup like tomato or butternut squash or add veggies to pasta dishes or chili. When eating out, swap your usual fried side dish for a steamed vegetable or side salad.
(U. S. Department of Agriculture)
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