6 ways to incorporate more vegetables into your diet
Despite all the health benefits that vegetables have to offer, people of all ages are still not eating the recommended amount of veggies every day.
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked American adults to report how many times per day, week or month they consumed 100-percent fruit juice, whole fruit, dried beans and various vegetables.
87 percent of participants did not meet the suggested vegetable intake of two to three cups of vegetables a day. In addition, 93 percent of children ate less than the recommended amount of vegetables.
According to Elizabeth Zawila, a registered dietician at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital’s Health and Wellness Center in Downers Grove, Ill., the most important health benefit of vegetables is their nutritional density, meaning that vegetables have very few calories compared to how much nutrition they provide.
In other words, you get the most amount of nutrients for the least amount of calories.
“When people skip out on veggies, they are missing out on a great way to add vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, flavor, color and variety to their meals,” says Zawila.
This type of produce can also add valuable nutrients and antioxidants, reduce the risk for heart disease, stroke, and some cancers and help manage body weight.
Zawila offers tips on how to add more vegetables to your diet:
- Incorporate your veggies in other foods like muffins, casseroles and breads.
- Buy fresh vegetables that are in season. They will taste better and cost less.
- Stock up on frozen vegetables. This makes them more accessible and saves the time and effort needed to go to the grocery store.
- Keep things interesting by varying the vegetables you eat.
- Dip veggies into good fats such as hummus and guacamole to make them tastier.
- Keep a container of pre-washed and pre-cut vegetables and salad in the fridge ready to go for when you don’t have time or aren’t in the mood to prepare others with dinner.
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