Vegetables add color and texture to your meals, and vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber to your overall diet.
Vary Your Vegetable Choices to Maximize Your Nutrient Intake
- Food from Dark green vegetables (kale; collard, turnip, and mustard greens; spinach). Serving size : 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked. Healthy hints : Top with low-fat salad dressings, a drizzle of olive oil, spices and herbs, lemon zest, and vinegar.
- Food from Deep yellow vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash). Serving size : 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked. Healthy hints : Season with nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, or parsley.
- Food from Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy). Serving size : 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked. Healthy hints : Top with low-fat cheeses, parmesan cheese, lemon pepper, vinegar, mustard, soy sauce, or light dressing.
- Food from Others (peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, green beans, leeks, onions, pea pods, tomatoes, cucumber, and so on). Serving size : 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked. Healthy hints : Dip in light ranch dressing, sauté in a little olive oil and garlic, or tuck into sandwiches, tortillas, and pitas.
- Food from Low-sodium tomato or vegetable juice. Serving size : 4 to 6 oz.. Healthy hints : Serve with a twist of lemon or lime over ice for a summertime cocktail.
- Raw vegetables make great snacks—be sure to place them at eye level in the front of the refrigerator for all to see.
- Stock up on frozen and canned vegetables for later in the week; rinse canned varieties under cold running water to reduce the sodium.
- Add chopped vegetables to pasta dishes, soups, sauces, pizza, and casseroles.
- Try quick cooking techniques such as steaming, grilling, stir frying, and microwaving.
- Stock up on prewashed, prediced vegetables from the salad bar to minimize preparation time for recipes.
- Seal chopped onions in premeasured amounts in freezer bags for recipes (double bagging can help prevent other foods from absorbing the onion smell).
- Throw deli-roast chicken on a bed of romaine lettuce; add chopped olives, Parmesan cheese, and low-fat Italian dressing for a quick Caesar salad.
- Scramble eggs or egg substitutes with leftover chopped vegetables and serve with toast and juice for breakfast.
- Top a pita round with spaghetti sauce and leftover chopped veggies and a bit of shredded cheese; broil till crisp and enjoy!