March is National Nutrition Month, a perfect time to discuss one of the healthiest food groups you can consume — veggies.
Vegetables are low in calories, high in vitamins, and high in antioxidants. Each time you eat a meal, you should make sure at least half of your plate is filled with fruits and vegetables.
And you can turn to veggies for snacks too.
To truly reap health benefits from veggies, your goal should be to make sure to consume from each of the five sub-groups of veggies every week.
I’ll tell you about each group and give you some ideas about the amount women and men need each week.
Dark Greens. Broccoli, kale, spinach, collard greens, chard, and Brussels sprouts are some of the vegetables in this group. Kale is one of my favorites. I like it sautéed or in salads, and it’s great in soup too. Check out my delicious strawberry kale recipe here. Women should aim for at least 1.5 cups of veggies from this group every week and men should aim for 2 cups.
Reds and Oranges. Veggies in this group include red and orange peppers, tomatoes, and carrots, as well as beets and red onions. I love adding red onions to salads. Peppers and onions are also great in omelets. And you can’t go wrong dipping carrots, grape tomatoes, and peppers in hummus. Women should aim for 5.5 cups of veggies from this group every week and men should aim for 6 cups.
Beans and Peas. Think of all the different types of beans there are: black, green, pinto, kidney, chickpeas, and many more. Beans and peas have more fiber and protein than veggies from the other groups. You’ll love my bean salad recipe. Women should aim for 1.5 cups of veggies from this group and men should aim for 2 cups.
Starchy. The main starch veggies are potatoes, yams, and sweet potatoes. They get a bad rap, but they’re filled with lots of important vitamins and minerals. I sometimes bake a sweet potato for a great snack. Women should aim for 5 cups from this group, and men should aim for 6 cups. That sounds like a lot, but over the course of the week, it really isn’t.
Other Veggies. Think of other vegetables you can eat — cucumbers, celery, onions, etc. Women should consume around 4 cups of other veggies and men should consume 5 cups.
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