From a health standpoint, vegetables are a five-star food group: naturally nutrient-rich; better tasting than a vitamin pill; low in calories and fat; cholesterol-free; and packed with disease-fighting phytonutrients. To maximize your health with vegetables, nutrition experts suggest at least three to five servings per day – in a rainbow of colors. All types of vegetables can be nourishing and delicious – fresh, frozen, canned, and juiced. Here are a dozen daily ways to treat yourself to good health!
• Broccoli and cauliflower: Versatile and very healthful – eat them raw or cooked, in a salad, or even a slaw.
• Carrots: Sweet, crunchy, good for your teeth, eyes and heart! Perfect raw or cooked in a stew.
• Peppers: Green, red, yellow, orange, or even purple! Enjoy peppers in a salad, stir-fry, casserole, or as a snack.
• Spinach: A salad of baby spinach leaves with pears, apples, or dried cranberries can turn anyone into a real spinach lover.
• Onions: The zesty onion family, including scallions, leeks, and garlic too, offer some powerful antioxidant nutrients.
• Peas: Fresh, frozen, or even canned, peas are a treat to eat – and they are very popular with young children.
• Beets: If you have never liked beets, try them in a new way – like roasted, grilled or lightly steamed in the microwave.
• Sweet potatoes or yams: Switch the color on your usual baked potato – and you will get a lot more nutrients, along with great taste.
• Mushrooms: Just a mushroom or two adds rich flavor to a casserole, soup, stew, stir-fry, or even a tossed green salad.
• Leaf and romaine lettuce: Rule of thumb for a healthy salad: the darker green or red the lettuce leaves, the more nutrients you get.
• Green, yellow or purple beans: Like their pea “cousins” beans offer some fiber and a little bit of protein, along with vitamins and minerals.
• Tomatoes: Cooking increases the availability of some tomato nutrients – so enjoy canned sauce, paste and chunks.
I hope you will consider joining me at the Thursday, Summer Street Stroll on Aug. 3rd in Great Bend. I will have a booth set up with excellent Extension resources. I will also offer free canner gauge testing from 4 – 6 p.m.
Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. Contact her at 620-793-1910 or firstname.lastname@example.org.