We all know that vegetables are good for us and that we probably should be eating more… but do you eat enough? It is generally recommended that you eat at least 3-5 servings of vegetables per day, but over 85% of Americans do not meet this required amount.
Vegetables are an incredibly important component of a healthy diet, as they provide the body with essential vitamins and minerals, reducing the risk of disease and diabetes. Because most are low in calories and high in fibre, making vegetables a main component of your meal can help you to lose weight and feel full longer. Not only that, but the nutrients in vegetables help to keep your hair, skin and nails strong and healthy.
Tips for Eating More Vegetables:
- Aim to fill ⅓ – ½ of your plate with vegetables
- A serving size is equivalent to between ½ cup – 1 cup, or a closed fist size of cooked veggies, and a large open handful of leafy vegetables.
- Try making 2 sides of vegetables for dinner, instead of just one (i.e. some green beans and a side salad, or steamed broccoli and carrots).
- Eat the rainbow! Try to vary the colours of vegetables you eat to ensure that you’re getting all of the nutrients your body needs
- Add a handful of spinach or other greens to your morning smoothie
- Try to consume vegetables in their whole form rather than juiced. Juicing removes the pulp from vegetables, which contains a lot of the nutrients and fibre.
- Try different ways of preparing vegetables – steaming, grilling, roasting/baking, raw, sauteing, braising/stewing, etc.
- Pre-cut a bunch of veggies (baby carrots, peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, etc.) on Sunday to have an easy snack throughout the week
- Stir-frys and salads are great options that load a lot of vegetables into your meal.
- Starchy vegetables including potatoes, yams, corn, beans (except green beans), squash, peas, turnip, parsnip, and beets should not count towards your 3-5 servings. These tend to be higher in calories and lower in vitamin and mineral content, so they while they are a great source of carbohydrate, they do not as a serving of vegetables.