Pennsylvania Vegetables: Your Key to Good Nutrition
Health experts recommend that the average American should:
- Choose a variety of vegetables each day to get a good mix of vitamins and minerals.
- Eat between 2 and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day.
- Strive to eat the following amounts vegetables from each of the five groups of vegetables each week:
- dark green - 3 cups
broccoli, dark green leaf lettuce, kale, spinach, turnip greens
- orange – 2 cups
carrots, acorn squash, butternut squash, pumpkin, sweet potato
- legumes – 3 cups
dried beans and peas
- starchy vegetables - 3 to 6 cups
corn, green peas, lima beans, potatoes
- other vegetables – 6 to 7 cups
asparagus, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, peppers, lettuce, onions, tomatoes
- dark green - 3 cups
A diet rich in a variety of vegetables (and fruits) provides many health benefits.
- Supplies your body with numerous vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
- Reduces your risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases
- Reduces your risk for type 2 diabetes
- Reduces blood cholesterol levels.
- Aids in weight-loss since vegetables (especially high fiber ones) are naturally low in calories and provide a feeling of fullness.
Be creative in increasing the amount of vegetables in your diet.
- Enjoy a green salad everyday.
- Plan your dinner menu around a vegetable main dish like stir-fry or soup.
- Add vegetables to casseroles, meatloaves, pizza, soups, kabobs, quick breads or muffins
- Keep a bowl of cut-up fresh vegetables in the refrigerator ready for snacking with a low-fat dip.
- Try new vegetables and new recipes regularly. For new recipes, click here.
- Keep a variety of canned and frozen vegetables on hand to give you last-minute menu options.
Remember these tips for choosing and preparing vegetables.
- Fresh vegetables in season can be a real bargain. For sources of Pennsylvania vegetables,click here.
- Thoroughly wash fresh vegetables before eating or cooking them by rubbing them briskly with your hands under running water.
- Always keep vegetables separate from raw meat, poultry or seafood.
- Microwaving vegetables saves time and preserves nutrients –2 to 4 minutes per serving is usually enough.
- Follow the three R rules to preserve both nutrients and flavor when cooking vegetables on the stove:
- Reduce the amount of water.
- Reduce the cooking time (many vegetables are delicious just lightly steamed).
- Reduce the surface area exposed by cooking vegetables whole or in large pieces.
Visit the ChooseMyPlate website developed by the United States Department of Agriculture that offers a wealth of information to help Americans eat a healthier diet.
Visit the Fruits & Veggies More Matters website developed by the Produce for Better Health Foundation for additional benefits of eating lots of fruits and vegetables each day.