How to Include More Vegetables in Your Diet
The healthiest vegetables may not be the most appealing, but you may still be able to incorporate them into your diet.
Even if you enjoy eating vegetables, getting the recommended amount of the most nutritious vegetables each day can be challenging. Learning how to include vegetables into your everyday meals is a valuable skill, and this article can give you all the information you need to acquire it.
The following sections detail which vegetables are the best vegetables to eat and how and when you may be able to include them in your meals. Additionally, the sections below explain how to eat more vegetables using other methods and how eating vegetables can benefit your physical health. By consuming more vegetables, you can lead a healthier life and encourage your friends and family to eat better as well.
Which vegetables should you eat?
While all vegetables are good to eat, the healthiest vegetables should remain a priority. The benefits of vegetables extend beyond the nutrients they provide and can help reduce the risk of some diseases and prevent conditions like chronic inflammation. Therefore, adding vegetables to your diet is worthwhile and can bolster your physical health tremendously. A list of the best vegetables to eat is provided below:
- In a single cup, raw spinach provides you with about 56 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin A and a significant amount of potassium. Spinach also contains various antioxidants that may help lower blood pressure.
- Carrots are also high in vitamin A, but they also have vitamins C and K and potassium. According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), carrots have been shown to reduce the risk of lung cancer in smokers as well.
- Another green vegetable, broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable rich in vitamins K and C. Broccoli also has folate, manganese and potassium which may help reduce your risk of developing a chronic disease.
- Kale is a superfood that is dense in vitamin B, potassium, calcium and copper. A single cup of this vegetable satisfies your daily requirements for vitamins A, C and K and promotes heart health.
- Asparagus gives you vitamin K and folate, which helps protect against birth defects during pregnancies.
Some of the healthiest vegetables on the list above are best to consume raw while others should be cooked before consumption to allow for the absorption of nutrients. The healthiest vegetables to snack on may include the vegetables that should be eaten raw because they are easily packed and accessible. For instance, broccoli, onions, spinach and kale can be eaten raw with little nutrients lost, but potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and asparagus should be cooked to increase the absorption of vital nutrients and antioxidants. The following methods of preparing vegetables helps preserve the most nutrients:
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How to Add Vegetables to Meals
Eating vegetables everyday can help you reach your nutritional and physical health goals. Adding the healthiest vegetables to your everyday meals can be as simple as adding salt to your dish. Use these tips to begin adding more vegetables to your diet:
- Mix them in with cheese. Vegetables and cheese taste great together, and some cheeses even disguise the vegetable flavor. For example, macaroni and cheese can be made healthier and even tastier by adding spinach, tomatoes, peas and broccoli. Grilled cheese and quesadillas can make other delicious opportunities to add veggies.
- Bake with them. Use canned pumpkin in your cookies or cakes and try adding zucchini and carrots to your bran muffins and other baked goods. Casseroles can contain virtually any type of vegetable as well without compromising taste.
- Blend them. Making vegetable-based smoothies is a great way to eat more vegetables that you can appreciate. Juicing some vegetables, like carrots, does not reduce their nutritional value, and kale, spinach and avocados make great morning blends.
- Add them to your pasta. Pasta dishes pair well with all types of vegetables. You are encouraged to experiment with various healthy vegetables to determine which you like the most.
- Mix them in with potatoes. Potatoes are often a favorite, so try to mix in some vegetables. Depending on the type of potatoes (e.g., mashed or baked), you could add peas, broccoli, corn, asparagus and any other savory vegetable you may want.
- Pile them on your burger or pizza. You can add nutritious vegetables on top of your burger or pizza or mix them into the meat, sauce or cheese. Carrot puree and chopped mushrooms can be added to ground bee, and spinach can be a sauce additive.
- Hide them in your desserts. Consider adding pureed spinach to your brownie or cake mix and make avocado-based frosting to decorate it. You can also mix the sweet flavors of chocolate with the potent flavors of beets or sweet potatoes.
Foods You Can Replace with Vegetables
In addition to adding the healthiest vegetables to your meal, you can make the vegetables your meal by replacing some food products with vegetable alternatives. The most nutritious vegetables can make great substitutes for popular food products like dough and crust. A list of the types of foods vegetables can replace is as follows:
- Vegetable noodles like vegetable spirals contain carrots and spinach.
- Instead of chicken, eggplant can make a delicious, low-calorie chicken parmesan.
- Green beans, zucchinis, sweet potatoes and avocado fries make great substitutes.
- Tortilla wraps. Rather than using a tortilla to contain your taco or wrap, try using lettuce.
The Benefits of Vegetables
The best vegetables to eat are low in fat and calories and are important sources of many nutrients including potassium, folate (i.e., folic acid) and vitamins A and C. Consuming the healthiest vegetables regularly may help you maintain your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol levels and regulate your digestive system. Other benefits of vegetables include the following:
- Lowers the risk of obesity and diabetes
- Reduces the risk of developing kidney stones
- Decreases bone loss
- Helps protect against some cancers, heart attacks and strokes
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