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February 19, 2014 • Healthy Eating & Nutrition

Getting the Most Out of Your Veggies

  • Choose those with the deepest, richest color.  The more color, the more beneficial phytochemicals it provides and usually the more fiber, vitamins and minerals too.  The superstars include:  all cruciferous (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, collards), carrots, garlic, onions, leaks, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, tomatoes, winter squash, asparagus, red/orange/yellow bell peppers, berries, cherries, plums, any whole citrus, cantaloupe, kiwi, mango, peaches, pears, red grapes, apples, and dried or fresh apricots
  • Some vegetables are better for your raw while others are better for you cooked.  Your best bet is to eat some of both every day.
  • Choose the “smallest” offerings of vegetables.  The smaller the piece of produce the higher its skin to flesh ratio.  The nutritional goodness in produce, especially phytochemicals and fiber are more concentrated in the skin.
  • Favor non-starchy vegetables over fruit, especially if you have a weight issue.  Many have a high nutrient to calorie ratio and more favorable effects on metabolism.
  • Seek out locally or regionally grown produce in the grocer.  It is generally fresher, tastier, healthier and less stressful on the environment.
  • Be aware of the varieties of vegetables that provide the highest levels of pesticide exposure – spinach, celery, potatoes and sweet bell peppers.  I suggest organic for these vegetables.
  • Be aware of the “cleanest” (lest pesticides) varieties of vegetables – onions, avocado, frozen corn, frozen peas, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, eggplant.
  • Recognize that frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh.  Stockpile them when they go on sale!
  • Try growing your own veggies.  Anyone can grow lettuce in a pot.
  • Eat salad at least once a day.  You should never go a day in your life without eating some form of dark leafy green.
  • Restrict the starchy, higher glycemic vegetables – white potatoes, parsnips, rutabagas and corn, especially if weight is an issue.veggie basket