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MyPlate Week, Day 5: A Veggie Venture

June 10, 2011

The final day of  [NL]’s “MyPlate Week” is devoted to the vegetable group. Mom always made you finish your vegetables at the dinner table and you should be glad she did! Eating vegetables provides us with numerous health benefits and have been linked to reduced risk of chronic disease. Not only that, but contrary to popular thought, vegetables CAN taste good. Below are some reasons why vegetables are an important element of your everyday plate.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Eating a vegetable-rich diet may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, obesity, and some cancers. Because they are often high in potassium, they may serve to help lower blood pressure as well as reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. Additionally, vegetables are lower in calories than other high-calorie foods, which are known as nutrient density, and they can be helpful in lowering calorie intake for weight loss.

VEGGIE VERNACULAR

We love fruits and veggies so much that we’ve developed a veggie vernacular to help you remember why it’s important to keep them included on every plate. Keep these phrases in mind when choosing, storing, preparing, and enjoying your vegetables:

  • Be Bright: The brighter orange and red vegetables are packed with antioxidants and include acorn squash, carrots, red peppers, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.
  • Freezing Frenzy: Stock up on frozen vegetables for quick and easy cooking in the microwave.
  • Go Green: Dark green vegetables are delicious and often filled with folate and iron. Enjoy broccoli, collard greens, mustard greens, spinach, and turnip greens.
  • Properly Plan: Plan meals around vegetables such as stir-fry or soup. Then add other foods to complement the veggies.
  • Seasonal Sense: Buy fresh vegetables in season because they cost less and are likely to be at their peak flavor
  • Savor the Starches: Vegetables in the “starch” group can be nutritious and filling and include corn, green peas, lima beans, potatoes, water chestnuts and cassava.
  • Vary Veggies: Keep you vegetables varied by including different colors, shapes and sizes for each meal. Have fun with it.

CHILDREN AND VEGGIES

It’s not always easy to get children to eat their vegetables as they often leave a more bitter taste in the mouth. Here are some simple tips to make veggies fun for the kids:

  • Allow children to decide on the dinner vegetables or what veggies will be put in the dinner salad
  • If age permits, allow children to help clean, peel, or cut up the vegetables
  • Try a new veggie every week and ask your child to pick it out for the family
  • Make an afternoon snack cut-up vegetables
  • Because children often prefer foods separately, try separating two vegetables rather than mixing together.

Remember to always set a good example when eating vegetables with your kids!

For more info on fruits and all of the other food groups represented on MyPlate, check out choosemyplate.gov.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2011 12:40 AM

    Great tips on implementing MyPlate. I like the way you are diving into each section of the plate separately.

    • June 15, 2011 11:31 AM

      Thank you Tammy! ‘MyPlate Week’ was a success for us at [NL] and we were happy to discuss the new model for healthy eating in the US. How do you feel about the new USDA food icon?

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