Do you remember as a child when mama told you to eat your vegetables? Perhaps it was broccoli, green beans, cabbage, spinach, Brussels sprouts. Or in my case those horrible canned red beets and raw radishes! Yuck! Maybe you would dutifully eat them, as mama said, wanting to be the good little child. Hoping later for dessert or some kind of reward. Or maybe you would feed them to the dog when mama wasn’t looking. Regardless, mamma had it right. We needed to eat our veggies. Not only as children but now as adults.
We Aren’t Eating Enough Veggies
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2019, 1 out of 10 adults met the daily recommendations of eating fruits and vegetables. And it has only worsened with the pandemic and supply chain disruptions. Now, for those eating vegetables the amount has decreased to about one per day. The State of the Plate: America’s Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Trends, from the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), explains despite decades of industry and public health efforts, America’s fruit and vegetable consumption continues to decline. The research shows people are eating fruits and vegetables less frequently.
This is not good news because eating fresh vegetables has incredible benefits to our overall mental and physical health. I can attest to this very fact. When I was growing up vegetables were a big part of my family’s diet. We ate all kinds of leafy green veggies. Collard and mustard greens with blackeye peas were served on a regular basis. Even grew a vegetable garden one summer. A green salad of lettuce, tomato, cucumber and those nasty radishes were on the table daily. To this day my family eats their veggies just like mamma said.
Changed to Plant-based Diet
As an adult I still maintain this habit of vegetables on my plate. About a year ago I moved to a more plant base diet which I shared in a previous post. This decision has had wonderful affects for me. First, I just feel better. Second, my struggle with migraines are virtually gone. I do eat some poultry and fish but most of my meals are plant based. I even changed my smoothies to plant-based protein powder and almond milk.
National Eat Your Vegetables Day
Friday, June 17, is National Eat Your Vegetables Day and an important reminder to continue and/or add veggies as a part of a healthy diet. The goal is to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
What is a Serving?
As I mentioned above we are only getting about one serving daily. This is a major difference. But what is exactly a serving? Use this list as a guide.
One serving is equal to:
- 1 cup of raw carrots
- 1 cup of raw spinach
- 1 cup of cucumber
- 1 cup of raw bell peppers
- ½ cup cooked broccoli
- ½ cup cooked cauliflower
- ½ cup cooked green beans
Now that you’ve got an idea of a serving of vegetables, it will be easier to add them to your daily eating habits. If you’ve been slacking on consuming your veggies, use this special day to reorganize your diet and start adding more veggies to the menu.
Ways to Fill Your Plate
How do we get those servings of crunchy and leafy plants into our daily meals? Here’s some ways to fill your plate and make your mamma proud.
1. Prepare all your favorite veggies for all your meals. This could be a vegetable omelet for breakfast. Vegetarian soup, sandwich or salad for lunch. Then top off dinner with a vegetarian casserole. Or one of my favorites, vegetable lasagna. Too many vegetables for one day? Then pick one or two meals to be all vegetables.
2. Not in the mood to cook. Visit a local restaurant and go vegetarian. Many eateries offer meatless entrees on their menu. You don’t have to be a serious vegetarian. Try a new dish and explore the possibilities.
3. Visit your local farmer’s market and purchase some locally grown produce. You not only support local farmers and businesses but get fresh veggies too. This is a win-win situation.
4. Make your desserts using veggies. And I’m not just talking about carrot cake or pumpkin pie! Veggies like zucchini, peppers, butternut squash and sweet potatoes provide a great addition to sweets . Check out vegetable dessert recipes online for some inspiration.
5. If you are feeling industrious or have a green thumb, plant a vegetable garden. No need to worry about supply chain problems or expensive grocery store produce. Grow your own. Many vegetables like green beans, tomatoes, cabbage, squash, peppers, zucchini, onions and spinach can be grown at home.,
For my last veggie tip. Did You Know onions are the world’s most widely used vegetable? If you love onions like me, squeeze a little lemon juice or vinegar on raw cut onions to eliminate the strong sharp smell and taste while adding flavor. Or try sweet Vidalia onions. They are grown in Vidalia, Georgia, not far from my home.
Ready to Make Mamma Proud?
Are you ready to do what mamma said and eat your veggies? Share with me some creative ways to get in your daily servings.