March 11, 2015
By Tom Canty, Vice President and General Manager,
Empire BlueCross BlueShield Government, Labor and Special Account
So, everyone knows that vegetables are good for you because:
· They are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants may prevent cell damage and lower the risk of developing certain health problems. Common vegetables high in antioxidants include red leaf lettuce, sweet potatoes, broccoli and asparagus.
· They have fiber. Consuming 25 – 40 grams of fiber a day can reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Fiber also helps lower cholesterol. Good vegetable sources of fiber include carrots, spinach, broccoli and beets.
· They can help with weight management. Eating more vegetables can help you lose or maintain your weight. People often eat less when they eat more vegetables, due to the fuller feeling fiber provides. To lose weight, fill half of a plate with low-calorie vegetables like spinach, cucumbers, broccoli or peppers. Then use meats or proteins and breads or starches as sides, instead of making them the main focus.
But, you only ate them because your mother forced you to… Here are five tips for making veggies more appealing:
1. Add a dip or dressing. Try a low-fat salad dressing with celery sticks, cauliflower, raw broccoli, or red and green peppers.
2. Add them to a dish you like. If your favorite dish is lasagna, include zucchini slices, spinach or carrots. Vegetables like mushrooms and tomatoes go great with an omelet or quesadilla.
3. Juice them up. Mix a few handfuls of baby spinach or kale into your favorite smoothie. They may change the color, but not the taste.
4. Add some color to salads. Add spinach leaves and pre-shredded carrots into your salad mix.
5. Grill vegetables. At your next barbecue, put some vegetables on the grill or use a skewer to make a veggie kabob. Before grilling, brush them lightly with canola or olive oil.
Who knows? If these tips work for you, you might want to start making a list of what veggies you want to plant in the garden this summer!