Eating vegetables doesn’t have to be boring!
Including vegetables in your daily meal plan is extremely important. The health benefits from eating vegetables are well documented – vegetables are rich in antioxidants and vitamins and help maintain a healthy weight. You may not enjoy them all, but even if you have a few favorites include them regularly in some meals, and you will be on your way to better health.
The US Department of Agriculture recommends that you fill half of your plate at each meal with fruit or veggies, or you can have half veggies and half fruit to equal half of the plate if you like. In addition to providing important vitamins and minerals, vegetables add another important component to a meal, fiber!
Fiber works to aid digestion and help slow the absorption of sugars or refined carbohydrates to reduce blood sugar spikes. For example, if you are enjoying a meal with pasta or rice, and you add a full serving of non-starchy veggies, (about one cup of raw or 1/2c cooked), your post- meal blood sugars will most likely be lower than it would if you didn’t add any veggies to your meal. So, you see, nutrients and blood sugar benefits are part of why eating your vegetables is so important.
Vegetables vary in their carbohydrate content. It is important to understand this for meal balance. There are basically two types of carb vegetables: starchy and non-starchy. Vegetables such as potatoes, peas, corn, winter squashes, and edamame all add fiber- but are higher in carb value than non-starchy veggies like cauliflower, eggplant, broccoli and salad greens. It is recommended to consume 2.5 cups of vegetables daily for optimal health.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find fresh vegetables. Frozen or canned veggies are good substitutes, but frozen veggies are more desirable because they do not have the added sodium. You can rinse the canned variety before cooking to remove some of the added salt.
Most vegetables are low in calories and fat and do not have cholesterol, which is another added benefit.
Lastly, vegetables have been shown to be able to reduce the overall risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as offer protection against certain types of cancers.
Eating vegetables does not have to be boring, there are lots of ways to incorporate these tasty foods into your daily diet plan. Here are just a few:
- Add veggies into your morning meal; If you have not tried eggs and spinach -you do not know what you are missing. This excellent combo will power start your morning for sure. Spinach is packed with vitamins A, C and iron… and of course fiber!
- How about a smoothie as a meal? Blending veggies in with your daily protein powder makes a tasty balanced meal.
- Make vegetable-based soups. Not only are soups quick, easy and delicious, you can consume multiple servings of vegetables in one dish.
- Instead of higher fat potato chips, consider slicing sweet potatoes into thin pieces and baking in the oven with some olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 250 for 2 hours and you’ve got yum-healthy chips to dip in some fresh guacamole or eat as a side dish.
So, who said vegetables are boring?
The articles provided on this website are for informational purposes only. In addition, it is written for a generic audience and not a specific case; therefore, this information should not be used for diagnostic or medical treatment. This site does not attempt to replace the patient-physician relationship and fully recommends the reader to seek out the best care from his/her physician and/or diabetes educator.