Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

How to Love Your Veggies: Part I

July 1, 2009

Vegetables are to nutrition the way that stretching is to exercise:  most people know they’re good for them, but they don’t really like ‘em so it’s easier to skip ’em. But skip them you shouldn’t since vegetables have the highest nutrient density of all foods. In other words, per calorie they offer the most nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other phytonutrients that help reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, prevent cancer, heart disease and boost your immune system in general

OK, now that you know why you should be loving your vegetables, here are some delicious ways to get more into your diet:

1. Frozen vegetables are one of your best, most convenient nutrition bargains. They are as nutritious if not more nutritious than fresh vegetables because they are flash-frozen when they’re harvested and they’re usually the pick of the crop. Trader Joe’s and Safeway each have a wonderful variety of frozen veggies, many of which are organic. Frozen vegetables also offer a convenient way in obtaining a variety of different colored vegetables in one meal. Variety is important as each color provides different phytonutrients. Economically, frozen veggies are a year-round bargain. Whereas fresh vegetable prices fluctuate depending on availability, frozen vegetables are affordable and available year-round.

2. If you don’t have much time to prepare meals, buy a combo microwave steamer/rice cooker and buy pre-washed, pre-cut fresh vegetables and steam them – no prep necessary.

3. Broil or grill skewered, sliced vegetables (zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant – even tomatoes) serve warm with lemon juice and olive oil. Or, combine with lean meat, fish or chicken for kebabs.

4. Add sea vegetables ( a great source of natural iodine and other trace minerals) to your salads or steamed veggies. They’re great for a sluggish metabolism as the iodine they contains helps keep the thyroid healthy.  Dried kelp, dulse and wakame – dry flakes can be sprinkled on veggies or warmed in soups. Try Gomasio, a Japanese seasoning combining sesame seeds and dried sea vegetables. It’s delicious sprinkled on salads or steamed vegetables. 

5Make a big batch of salad at one time to keep in your fridge so you can take single servings all week long. Add in slices of avocado and some sprigs of parsley or some sprouts when you serve it up. But the point is you already have the basic salad pre-made. Speaking of parsley, when you’re eating out, don’t toss the parsley garnish that may be one of the most nutritious foods on your plate. It’s loaded with vitamin K – an essential nutrient for bone health as well as vitamins C and A, folate and iron. It also aids in digestion – which is probably the original reason it was used as a garnish.

6. If you’re someone who likes a lot of flavor in your food, mix up some of your favorite herbs and spices to season your veggies such as basil, tarragon and oregano; sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese, drizzle them with olive oil, or cook them in garlic and onions (both of which are extremely healthful in themselves). Turmeric makes a great vegetable topping and it’s also a very healthful spice. Curcumin, the component in Turmeric that gives it its yellow color has been shown to kill cancer cells in lab tests. It’s also a great anti-inflammatory  – in fact studies have compared it favorably with NSAIDs such as Advil. Sprinkle it on steamed veggies or in your salads or soups.

I will offer more delicious ways of incorporating vegetables into your diet in a future post.

Be Well,

Carolyn