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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

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.

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