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Why Is It So Important to Eat Your Veggies?

Just when we were getting used to the idea of eating “5-a-Day,” guidelines now recommend consuming eight or more fruits and vegetable servings a day. That comes out to about 4 ½ cups a day. Few of us eat that much and that’s too bad because fruits and vegetables provide lots of vitamins, minerals and other natural substances that help maintain good health and even reduce certain health risks.

What are the healthiest vegetables? What are the best vegetables?

The best vegetables are the ones you’re actually going to eat! This list of the top ten most nutritious vegetables will get you started:

  1. Spinach
  2. Carrots
  3. Broccoli
  4. Garlic
  5. Kale
  6. Green peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Sweet potatoes
  9. Beets
  10. Bell peppers

What vitamins and nutrients are in vegetables?

Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and loaded with nutrition. Here are some veggie powerhouses.  

  • Potassium – sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomatoes, greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, kidney beans
  • Fiber – although all vegetables have fiber, kale, spinach and tomatoes are among the highest
  • Folate (folic acid) – spinach, kale, arugula
  • Vitamin A – carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, spinach
  • Vitamin C – broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, spinach, tomatoes, cabbage

How can you add fruits and vegetables to your diet?

With farmer’s markets in full swing, it’s the perfect time to add some fresh produce to your menu. Here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Add broccoli florets or sliced zucchini to your pizza topping.
  2. With lasagna, tuck spinach, shredded carrots or sliced eggplant between the layers.
  3. For all sandwiches, add lettuce, tomato and onion.
  4. At work, snack on dried fruit instead of heading to the vending machine.
  5. Add grapes, apple slices and pears to your chicken salad.
  6. For breakfast, add broccoli, mushrooms or bell peppers to your omelet.
  7. Add canned veggies like sliced green beans or fresh mushrooms to your store-bought pasta sauce.
  8. Add fruit slices to your gelatin. My grandmother often included bananas or fruit cocktail, but experiment with any favorite fruit.
  9. Create “Ants on a Log.” Spread low fat cream cheese on celery and sprinkle with raisins. Kids love ‘em. 
  10. Mix fat-free granola and fat-free yogurt. Top with berries.

While fresh is always best, canned, dried and frozen fruits without added sugar, and vegetables without added salt or butter are also good options.

Another option to consider is a fruit and vegetable supplement like Vegetable & Fruit™ tablets, with nutrients from six different vegetables and fruit. For those who want strictly the nutrition of vegetables, there’s Mega Veggie™, which contains 50 mg. each of 18 different vegetables including Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, yellow squash and more. For more options, check these out.

Remember, when it comes to fruits and vegetables, make sure you’re getting more than enough by incorporating these tips into your daily routine. Your body will thank you with ongoing good health.