Add More Vegetables to Your Day

22 Feb

We all know that we should be eating more vegetables.  It has been ingrained in our minds since we were little and our parents kept telling us to “eat your veggies!”  Health Canada tells us that if you’re a female between the ages of 19-50 you should be consuming 7-8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day and if you’re a male in the same age range, 8-10 servings a day is what you should be aiming for.  Are you getting enough???

Here are some tips to help you eat more vegetables.

  1. Discover fast ways to cook – cook fresh or frozen vegetables in the microwave for a quick and easy dish to add to any meal.  Add some water in a small bowl with the veggies and put in the microwave and voila!  You have steamed veggies.
  2. Be ahead of the game – cut up a batch of carrots, celery, broccoli, sweet peppers, or cucumbers.  Put them in a Ziploc bag and you have instant snacks.  You can add them to your salad or dip them in hummus for a great snack that includes protein.
  3. Choose vegetables rich in colour – brighten your plate with vegetables that are red, orange, or dark green.  They are full of vitamins and minerals.  Sweet potatoes, collard greens, cherry tomatoes, to name just a few.
  4. Check the freezer aisle – frozen vegetables are quick and easy to use and just as nutritious as fresh veggies  (they are frozen at the peak of freshness).  Try adding frozen peas, green beans, spinach, carrots, or sugar snap peas to some of your favourite dishes.
  5. Stock up on veggies – canned vegetables are a great addition to any meal, so keep on hand canned kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, mushrooms and beets.  Select those labeled as “reduced sodium” or “low sodium” or “no salt added”.  My trick – drain and rinse the vegetables before using them.
  6. Make your salad colourful – brighten your salad by using colourful vegetables such as black beans, sliced red bell peppers, shredded radishes, chopped red cabbage.  Using beans in your salad will also increase the protein content.
  7. Sip on some vegetable soup – you can get creative with soups by adding your favourite vegetables in a large pot, stirring in some water and spices and letting it simmer for a while to let the flavours in.
  8. While you’re out – if dinner is away from home, no need to worry.  When ordering, ask for an extra side of vegetables or side salad instead of the typical fried side dish.  Just remember to ask for them NOT to cook the veggies in butter and ask for the dressing on the side when ordering salad.
  9. Savour the flavour of seasonal vegetables – buy vegetables that are in season for maximum flavour at a lower cost.  Check your local supermarket specials or visit your local farmer’s market in the warmer months.
  10. Try something new – you never know what you may like.  Choose a new vegetable – add it to your recipe or look up ideas online.  My current NEW fave – BRUSSEL SPROUTS!!!

Source:  USDA (United States Department of Agriculture)

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