Parents need veggies just as much as kids do. Not only is it important to lead by example, vegetables contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that promote health as we age and help prevent chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Get Energized with Veggies
Whether it's for powering through a workout, rounding up the kids to get to school on time or accomplishing a big work project, our lives demand a lot of energy. Carbohydrate rich vegetables such as potatoes, peas and corn provide more calories than non-starchy vegetables.
Get the Most Nutrition from Veggies
Even though vegetables are a great source of vitamins and nutrients, water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C, riboflavin, thiamin and folate can be destroyed by exposure to air, water or heat. To keep the vitamins in your vegetables from escaping:
- Cook vegetables in a small amount of water, just enough to keep the pan from scorching.
- Steam, microwave or stir-fry vegetables instead of boiling to reduce the amount of time they are exposed to heat.
- Cooler temperatures help preserve vitamins, so store produce in the refrigerator.
Looking for veggies with the highest antioxidant potential? Try asparagus, beets, broccoli and sweet potatoes. Want the best vitamin C bang for your bite? Try yellow bell peppers and chopped broccoli. Just 1 cup of either veggie exceeds your daily minimum requirements of the vitamin.
How Much Do You Need?
Adult men should consume 3 cups of veggies daily, but many fall short. Aim to include veggies at most meals and snacks during the day. Try a variety of vegetables and experiment with different preparation methods, such as roasting, grilling and steaming. Try veggies such as roasted red peppers and sautéed mushrooms as sandwich fillings and burger toppings. You easily can add ½ cup of vegetables to a sandwich. Using raw spinach in salads is another way to pump up the vitamin content.
Think Food First
Multivitamins are supplements, not substitutes for whole foods and vegetables. Important phytonutrients (such as antioxidants) and fiber are two components of vegetables that make them irreplaceable by a pill. Besides, a grilled ear of corn tastes so much better!