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There are two important vegetable facts to remember: 1) They are packed with great taste and good nutrition; and 2) few Americans get the full benefit of vegetable nutrition, because most of us do not eat enough.
Kids need a cup of veggies a day, while adults need 2-1/2 to 3 cups daily. Get some vegetable power in your life by trying them a variety of forms.
Choose fresh vegetables
Fresh vegetables are a super choice, especially in-season and locally grown. Enjoy fresh veggies raw or cooked quickly to retain nutrients. Almost any fresh vegetable can be served in a tossed salad. Start with leafy lettuce, spinach or cabbage; add sliced carrots, peppers, cucumber, and tomatoes; and top with chopped broccoli florets or pea pods. Remember to go easy on the high fat dressing.
Choose frozen vegetables
When fresh vegetables are unavailable or too pricey, frozen broccoli, peas, green beans, or edamame (green soybeans) are excellent choices. Buy large bags, take out what you need for a meal, and then seal tightly and put back into the freezer. To cook, microwave for a few minutes, quickly mix into a stir-fry, or add to casseroles and soups.
Choose canned vegetables
Some canned vegetables, including tomatoes, pumpkin and beans (black, navy, pinto, etc.) are inexpensive nutrition powerhouses. Canned tomatoes (including the roasted and flavored varieties) are perfect in sauces and soups. Canned pumpkin goes great in breads and muffins, while beans are some of the most versatile veggies you’ll find.
Choose dried vegetables
Some sun-dried tomatoes make a delicious addition to many Mediterranean recipes, including pasta dishes and hummus, a dip made with mashed chickpeas. Whether you use dried or canned varieties, legumes (peas, beans, and lentils) are nutrition at its best and least expensive. Add legumes to soups and casseroles, as well as salads and dips.
Choose 100 percent vegetable juice
If you have your own juicer and an inexpensive source of fresh produce, veggie juice can be a refreshing and nutrient-rich beverage. If you are buying prepared juices, make sure they are low in sodium and 100 percent juice products. Since juice does not have the fiber benefits of whole vegetables, use juice for only 1 cup out of your daily 2-1/2 to 3 cups.
The following recipe is simple and a great way to add vegetables to your diet. It is versatile and can be tailored to your family’s preferences. Choose the ingredients you like best, put them together and enjoy.
Meat/Protein (1 lb.), choose one: Chicken, beef, pork, tofu
Vegetables/fruits, choose as many as you like: Mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, variety of mixed frozen vegetables
Sauce, choose one: low sodium soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, low sodium soy souce plus chicken broth
Prepare meat/protein by cutting into bite-sized strips. Prepare vegetables by washing and cutting into bite sized pieces.
Heat a 12-inch non-stick pan, cast iron skillet or wok on high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil or olive oil to pan and let it get hot. Add meat/protein to pan and cook for 3-5 minutes or until cooked through. Put onto a clean plate.
Add chopped produce to pan (you may need to add a little water or oil) and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. If vegetables begin to stick add a little water to the pan. You can also add a teaspoon or two of chopped garlic or ginger. Add meat/protein back into pan finish with sauce or glaze of your choice. Heat 1-2 minutes and serve over brown rice.
Source: Eat Right Montana