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I love vegetables-do you?

With everything going on I have been posting on social media related to vegetables. Overall my inspired writing has taken a hit since I do not see people at northwest bod and therefore I am feeling unchallenged, uninspired and overall not very helpful in my position as the dietitian there. I feel little sparks when I participate in the zoom classes, read social media posts and responses and have enjoyed everyone posting their workouts. It definitely has helped to keep our little community together and of course Blaire has done an amazing job keeping us updated with her solutions and at home workouts.

With that being said, I am still going to talk about vegetables! Clearly now is the time we need them the most. Most of us are not as active and could use the extra fiber and low calories that vegetables offer. Many of us could use an extra dose of vitamins and minerals and also those micro-nutrients you most definitely cannot find in any supplement.

Vegetables are so easy to add to anything! They brighten up so many dishes that would otherwise be just protein and carbs, they add not only color but flavor and textures and creativity. In my experience, most people either like raw vegetables, roasted vegetables or none at all. Now is the time to break away from your normal vegetable eating (or non-vegetable) routine and try something new!

Fresh vegetables are amazing texture-wise but they are not actually the most nutritious unless they are coming from your own garden or local farmer. Right after they are harvested they start losing nutrition and flavor. By the time they arrive at the grocery store they have already been handled and shipped and handled...for awhile. Just something to thing about as you head to the store more infrequently. Maybe now is the time to try a backyard garden or support your local farmers produce.

Frozen vegetables on the other hand are flash frozen right after they are picked at their peak freshness. Overall texture suffers but they make up for it in flavor and nutrition profile. They are an easy add to anything already mash-able (frozen cauliflower into mashed potatoes) or saucy (frozen vegetables hide nicely in a sauce) or something you already like cold (hello smoothie). Plus they last for up to 12 months! Think about restocking your supply the next time you are out.

Lastly, canned vegetables get a bad rap for being higher in sodium which is needed to prolong their shelf-life. If you are concerned about your sodium intake there are varieties such as low-sodium and salt-free to check out. Added bonus they are still ok to enjoy 1-2 years past their expiration. Make sure to check for cracks, dents, and bulges in the cans which increase the risk of contamination and botulism.

If there is anything you can do to stay healthy I really believe keeping up on your vegetable intake will benefit you the most in the long run. As mentioned above, they are high in fiber content to help keep you regular and also low in calories to round out a delicious meal. Though it varies greatly with their color, most all vegetables offer folate, potassium, vitamin A and C and iron.

Meal plan for next week to include vegetables in your wraps, casseroles, smoothies, salads, pasta dishes, curry dishes, sandwiches, soups, sauces, baked into bread, as a dip and on a pizza.



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