Remember the old saying, “you are what you eat”? I hope you do, because it’s a great quote to live by and goes perfectly with National Eat Your Vegetables Day! If you remember to eat your vegetables daily, then you’ll be one step closer to reaching your health goals. Vegetables are a vital part of your daily intake that provides several health benefits. They are nutrient dense, which means they carry a greater nutrient contribution than calorie contribution.
Here are 7 of the many powerful nutrients you can find in vegetables:
- Vitamin A can be found in carrots, collard greens and pumpkins. It helps maintain eye and skin health, as well as protect against infections.
- Vitamin C is usually associated with citrus fruits (i.e. oranges) but it can also be found in red and green peppers, and Brussels sprouts. It aids in would healing, helps keep gums and teeth healthy and can help keep your immune system running.
- Folate is found in dark leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, as well as asparagus and peas. This is an essential nutrient that isn’t only necessary during pregnancy, it’s needed for everyone! Adequate amounts of folate can help form red blood cells and supports your nervous system.
- Potassium sources include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, spinach and lentils. It works with sodium to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, reduces your risk of developing kidney stones and can minimize bone loss!
- Calcium isn’t just found in milk! Broccoli, celery and spinach are also good sources. Calcium helps keep your bones healthy and strong.
- Iron can be found in spinach, peas and lentils. This mineral will help keep your heart healthy and your blood flowing smoothly.
- Fiber can be found in a lot of vegetables, whether on the skin or in the ‘guts’. Keep the skin on your potatoes, and choose romaine lettuce, spinach or kale over iceberg lettuce for your salad. Fiber keeps your digestive system working properly and can help lower your cholesterol.
Now that you have decided to eat more vegetables, how will you cook them? Vegetables can get boring if you cook them the same way every day, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Here are some ways you can spice up your veggies:
- Find a new pairing. Vegetables can be paired with other vegetables, fruits or nuts that will bring out their natural flavor without having to do too much. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try a new vegetable dish. Try this Roasted Apple and Butternut Squash Salad with Olives or Roasted Acorn Squash Bowl with Spinach and Pomegranate or Sweet Potato and Apple Stacks.
- Make them fun. If you just throw some veggies onto your plate as a last minute addition, they tend to not look too appealing. Instead, try and make them fun! Think ahead of time what you’d like to have and how you would like them cooked. Try these fun Vegetable Skewers, which can be enjoyed as a side dish or as a snack.
- Try something new. There are some vegetables that you may be afraid to cook, but now’s the time to try! Artichokes can be a little intimidating, but the end result is always worth it. Try these delicious Stuffed Artichokes.
There are so many different types of vegetables out there, that it makes being adventurous a little easier. The best part is if you don’t like one vegetable, there’s always a new one to try!
Your Turn to Take Action: Although Eat Your Vegetables Day is only celebrated for one day, you can still try a new vegetable each day for the next month and see which ones become your new favorites. Let me know what vegetables you try in the comments below!