Last week we started off our FIT4U fitness challenge with a good dose of hydration and this week we focused on the importance of eating vegetables. We challenged our team cover half their plate with vegetables for one meal each day. Vegetables are one of the best sources of vitamins and nutrients, all of which are essential to function, repair, and protect our bodies.
Did you know…
– People who eat a diet high in vegetables and fruits are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.
– Foods rich in fiber, such as raspberries, leafy greens, cauliflower, and kidney beans, may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
– Vegetables are typically lower in calories than salty or sugary snack foods, making them great options when you’re counting calories.
Some Vegetable Benefits
– Spinach is high in fiber, protein, calcium and multiple vitamins, which makes it great for your heart and body. It’s also a really easy addition to your smoothies.
– Broccoli is a powerful antioxidant that aids in bone health, cholesterol reduction, and is high in fiber.
– Zucchini is a great source of fiber, protein and iron. Its versatility makes it a popular side dish or salad ingredient.
– Kale is an anti-inflammatory and is rich in anti-oxidants. It can also help remove toxins from your body. If you’re not a big fan of kale in salads, add it to your smoothie and disguise the taste with some sweeter fruits.
– Carrots are rich in vitamin A which is great for your eyes and skin.
How many vegetables should I eat?
According to Choose My Plate, the recommended daily intake is 2-2.5 cups for adult women and 2.5-3 cups for adult men. If you follow their guidelines, they recommend filling half your plate with fruits or vegetables. If you’re struggling with this, here are 10 tips to make increasing your vegetable intake a little easier:
1. Buy fresh vegetables in season when they cost less.
2. Stock up on frozen vegetables for quick and easy cooking in the microwave.
3. Buy vegetables that are easy to prepare. For example, buy packages of veggies such as baby carrots or celery sticks for quick snacks.
4. Vary your veggie choices to keep meals interesting.
5. Try crunchy vegetables, raw or lightly steamed.
6. Plan a few meals around a vegetable main dish, such as a vegetable stir-fry or soup. Then add other foods to complement it.
7. Include a green salad with your dinner every night.
8. Shred carrots or zucchini into meatloaf, casseroles, quick breads, and muffins.
9. Include chopped vegetables in pasta sauce or lasagna.
10. Order a veggie pizza with toppings like mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, and ask for extra veggies.
Play along with this week’s challenge and send us a photo of your veggie-covered plate.