Healthy Tip for the Month: Count Your Servings


Why are they important?

They can help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancers. Vegetables provide many essential nutrients in our diet, including the following:

- Potassium: Helps maintain healthy blood pressure

- Magnesium: Necessary for healthy bones, muscles and for healthy blood pressure

- Fiber: Helps reduce cholesterol levels and maintain digestive health

- Vitamin A: Keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps protect against infections

- Vitamin C: Helps heal cuts and wounds, keeps teeth and gums healthy and aids in iron absorption

How much do I need?
The amount of vegetables you need depends on your age, sex and how active you are. Most women should eat about 2 1/2 cups per day. Men should eat about 3 cups per day.

What counts as a cup of vegetables?
In general, 1 cup from the vegetable group is equal to 1 cup of chopped or cooked vegetables, 1 cup of vegetable juice or 2 cups raw leafy greens.

5 broccoli florets = 1/2 cup vegetable

6 baby carrots = 1/2 cup vegetable

1 cup cooked spinach = 1 cup vegetable

Tips for adding more vegetables to your diet:

- Add vegetables or vegetable juice to your soups, pasta dishes or casseroles

- Stock up on frozen vegetables for quick and easy cooking in the microwave

- Drink vegetable juice as a snack or as a beverage with your meal

- Buy pre-bagged vegetables for quick salads and snacks

- Try crunchy vegetables instead of chips for your favorite dips

- Add vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms or tomatoes to our egg or egg white omelet.

- Try at least 2 servings of vegetables at dinner

- Add tomato, lettuce, cucumber and sliced onion to sandwiches

- Order salads, vegetable soups or stir-fried vegetables when dining out

Nutrient Information

Excellent Sources of fiber: navy beans, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, lima beans, white beans, soybeans, split peas, chick peas, black eyed peas, lentils, artichokes

Excellent Sources of folate: black eyed peas, cooked spinach, great northern beans, asparagus

Good Sources of potassium: sweet potatoes, tomatoe paste, tomato puree, beets, greens, white potatoes, white beans, lima beans, cooked greens

Excellent Sources of Vitamin A: sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, collard greens, winter squash, red peppers, Chinese cabbage

Excellent Sources of Vitamin C: red and green peppers, sweet potatoes, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomato juice, cauliflower