Fresh Ideas to Get Your Veggies In!

Only 1 in 10 adults get enough fruits and vegetables each day, according to the CDC. It is recommended that adults eat 1 ½ -2 cups per day of fruit and 2-3 cups per day of vegetables. Guess it’s time to start making veggies a priority on our plate!

Try these fresh ideas to add vegetables to your menu this summer:

Think black is slimming?
Try color! Low-calorie veggies are key in weight control. Adding more vegetables as a part of an overall healthy diet may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Research shows the more variety of veggies you have in your fridge, the more you may consume. Try adding 2-3 different vegetables at each meal to help you get your recommended daily servings.

Fresh idea: Make it a meal. Salads, kabobs, or even stir-fries are easy ways to add more vegetables and more color.

Cut the muscle cramps
Potassium is important for fitness because it helps ensure proper muscle movement and prevents cramping. Research also shows eating vegetables rich in potassium may help lower blood pressure. If you want to up your potassium intake, dig in to a sweet potato; one baked sweet spud contains nearly 30 percent more potassium than a banana. Bonus: This veggie is a great source of muscle-building copper, too.

Fresh idea: Don't fry sweet potatoes. Frying reduces the amount of potassium they contain. Instead, mash or bake 'em.

Block the UV damage
Popeye's favorite veggie is good for your complexion. The vitamin A in spinach protects skin from UV damage and ensures healthy cell turnover, which keeps you looking radiant.

Fresh Idea: Steam and toss spinach with garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil, or use the leaves to fill out a sandwich

Improve your performance
Researchers discovered that beets helped cyclists increase their endurance by up to 16 percent. “Beets seem to reduce the amount of oxygen the body uses during exercise” says exercise physiologist Stephen Bailey of Exeter University in England. The result: muscles that can tolerate high-intensity exercise longer.

Fresh Idea: Drizzle beets with red wine vinegar and olive oil, then roast. Or, sauté with onions and garlic.

Lift Your Mood
Feeling frazzled? Instead of reaching for a candy bar or chips, try an avocado. It's packed with monounsaturated fat, which provides a great pick-me-up. The building blocks of brain cells are predominantly fat. If you don't eat enough, you get grouchy, crabby and depressed. Just make sure they're the healthy fats.

Fresh Idea: Drizzle sliced avocado with lime juice, brush with olive oil, and grill; season with salt. Or make kebabs with avocado chunks, grape tomatoes, and mini mozzarella balls.

Article provided by Jill Whisler MS, RDN, Registered Dietitian, and member the Rethink Healthy Team. For more information about Wellness Services and our challenges, call 530-587-3769.