National Public Health Week: Are You Eating Enough Veggies?
In honor of National Public Health Week, all of us at Bogle Agency Insurance ask the above question, because the unfortunate answer is: usually not enough!
Since we’re in the NJ health insurance business, we want you to be healthy! Most people don’t even know they fall short of the recommended daily rations! The results can be serious, however. If you shortchange your diet on veggies, you’re missing out on many different vitamins, minerals and nutrients that have a dramatic impact on your metabolism and overall health.
Since spring has sprung, now’s the ideal time to reconsider what you eat. Not only does the beginning of spring get us thinking about new goals, it’s the perfect time to begin taking advantage of the early spring harvests and farmer’s markets.
How many servings should we eat each day? The most recent research suggests about 6-8 daily servings of vegetables, with one serving equaling 1 cup of raw or ½ cup of cooked vegetables. That shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish.
Here’s a list of tips on how to get more veggies into your diet:
Make a List. Start by identifying vegetables you like to eat and start incorporating those into your day.
Go Frozen. Take advantage of frozen veggies and use them in recipes and foods that you already like and make. If you buy fresh veggies in bulk, feel free to freeze those as well if you know you won’t use them up before they go bad.
Keep them on the top shelf. When you open the fridge, they will be the first things you’ll see and most likely what you’ll grab for a snack.
Pick a Dip. Raw veggies don’t have to be eaten plain. Find a healthy dip, such as guacamole, hummus or salsa, that you can pack along with your veggies to help increase your intake and make them taste better.
Make over your salads. Pump up your salads by adding some nuts/seeds, fresh fruit and maybe a little goat cheese. Cut up cucumber or peppers and substitute that for the lettuce.
Try them in different forms or blends. Try adding spinach or kale to a protein shake or substitute them for grains.
Use them as seasonings or accompaniments. Grill some peppers and onions for your steak, or sauté some wilted spinach with pine nuts for roasted chicken.
Learn to Roast. Roasting veggies is one of the best ways to bring out their natural sweetness – no sugar needed! Just sprinkle with olive oil and sea salt.
Go for seasonal. Vegetables taste better when they’re in season and local. Take advantage of the spring season, and try to shop local or at farmers markets as much as possible.
To find a farmer’s market near you, use this convenient search from the United States Department of Agriculture: http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/