There are so many awesome reasons for eating more vegetables, I hardly know where to start! And there are a great many healthy vegetables to choose from. Everyone should be able to find some they like. (Post may contain affiliate links).

I do know that I like to be reminded of the nutritional benefits of consuming more vegetables, because I find that when I am reminded, I’m inclined to eat more of them! So, for starters we’re going to look at 6 reasons you need more vegetables in your diet.

I’m hoping this information will help you and your children want to eat more vegetables as well.

One of the reasons why variety in your diet is so important is because every unique food has something special to add. This is especially true of vegetables. In fact, I believe that’s one of the main reasons God created so many different kinds of vegetables.

6 reasons you need more vegetables in your diet 

  • Low in calories – eating more vegetables will fill you up without the overload of calories and will help with weight control
  • Small amounts of good carbohydrates and high in Fiber
    • The exception to “low carbs” being starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, winter squash)
      • However, all carbohydrates in vegetables are GOOD carbohydrates, so potatoes are not a BAD vegetable. And potatoes and other starchy vegetables are excellent sources of fiber when you eat the skin.
  • Vegetables are low in fat.
    • Avocados are an exception; however, avocados are excellent sources of monounsaturated fats which are good fats.
  • Naturally low in sodium when fresh (or canned with no salt added)
  • Loaded with potassium
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, B6, potassium, manganese

Now that we’ve discussed 6 reasons you need more vegetables in your diet, lets discuss 6 different vegetables and how their individuality can enhance your health when you eat more of them.

Lentil Tomato Spinach Stew
Print Recipe
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Lentil Tomato Spinach Stew

Delicious, fragrant, healthy and inexpensive/frugal 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: beans, easy, frugal, healthy, high fiber, high protein, iron rich, vitamin a, vitamin c
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 185kcal
Author: Deborah Hanyon, MPH, RDN, ACE-CHC

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces Dried Lentils (1/2 package) Don't need to soak before cooking
  • 4.5 cups Water
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 cup Onions chopped
  • 1 14.5 ounce can Tomatoes (no salt)
  • 6 oz Spinach Fresh (can use frozen, thawed, 5 oz)
  • 2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Oregano, dried
  • 1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Parsley, fresh or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Instructions

Combine all ingredients into Dutch Oven

    Bring to a Boil

      Reduce Heat and Simmer covered for 45 minutes.

        Serve with pita or sourdough bread and hummus

          Nutrition

          Serving: 1cup | Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 405mg | Potassium: 452mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 700IU | Vitamin C: 17.3mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 3.2mg

          Tomatoes 

          The great thing about tomatoes is that they are available year round, plus they are so versatile, you can sneak these vegetables into almost any diet, no matter how “vegetable hating” the individual is.

          Tomatoes have a low glycemic index, are low in sodium (fresh, no salt added canned), are low in calories, and low in fat. Tomatoes are also high in fiber.

          For example, 1 cup cherry tomatoes, which is about 8-10 tomatoes, only has about 27 calories, less than half a gram of fat, only 7.5 mg sodium, 5.8 grams carbs, with 1.9 of the carbohydrates being fiber.

          High in Vitamins

          The same serving size of tomatoes is packed with vitamins and minerals, as the list below shows.

          Vitamin A (1241 IU – 25% US RDA)

          Vitamin C (18.9 mg 32% US RDA)

          Vitamin K (11.8 mcg 15% US RDA)

          Folate (6% US RDA)

          B6 – (6% US RDA)

          High in Minerals

          Potassium (353 mg 10% of US RDA)

          Manganese (8% of RDA)

          Choline (No established RDA, but significant to persons with Diabetes)

          See Below for delicious recipe that contains tomatoes.

          Bell Pepper

          Low in Calories, (15 calories in one small pepper), fat, and sodium (similar to tomatoes), and carbs, 6.9 carbs, 2.5 fiber

          One of the best sources of Vitamin C of any vegetable. One small bell pepper will provide you with 100% of your needs for the day.

          Also a significant source of vitamin B6. This is important because vitamin B6 is low in many diets. This is because of high intake of enriched breads and cereals, which have been stripped of the outer bran and endosperm.

          Bell peppers are not as good a source of potassium as other vegetables, but they do have potassium. And, it all adds up, right?

          Broccoli

          Low in calories, sodium, fat and carbohydrates. For example:

          1 cup chopped broccoli=31 calories, 6 grams carb, 2.4 fiber grams

          High in Vitamins and Minerals

          Vitamin A (567 IU – 11%)

          Vitamin C  (135% of needs)

          Vitamin K (115%)

          Folate

          B6

          Manganese

          Potassium (288 mg)

          Beets

          1 cup raw beets contains:

          59 calories

          13 g carbs, 3.8 g fiber

          442 mg potassium – 13%

          6.7 vit c – 11%

          148 mcg Folate (37%)

          Nutritionandyou.com states,

          “Beets are highly nutritious and “cardiovascular health” friendly root vegetables. Certain unique pigment antioxidants in this root and its top greens have been found to offer protection against coronary artery disease and stroke. These antioxidants also lower cholesterol levels within the body, and have anti-aging effects.”

          https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/beets.html

          Carrots

          Like most other vegetables, carrots are low in calories, fat, carbohydrates, and excellent sources of fiber.

          One thing about carrots stand out, however:

          Carrots are a supersonic source of vitamin A. For example, 1 cup chopped carrots contains 12,383 IU of vitamin A (a whopping 428% of US RDA)!

          In addition, 1 cup chopped carrots provides 13% of your daily needs of vitamin C, 21% of vitamin K, and 6% of folate and vitamin B6.

          And carrots contain more than 400 mg of potassium per 1 cup serving.

          Mushrooms

          Of course, mushrooms are low in calories, fat, carbohydrates and sodium like other vegetables. However, mushrooms are truly unique on this list.

          First of all, mushrooms are not actually vegetables. They are technically fungus. Second of all, mushrooms are “the only vegetarian food” that are known to make their own vitamin D.

          I always suspected this is because they naturally grow in the sun. And actually that’s what the science says.

          When mushrooms are exposed to UV (sun) rays, they make their own vitamin D. This increases the vitamin D content of them for eating. I don’t know about you, but I think that is so cool!

          According to www.Berkeleywellness.com:

          “Mushrooms con­tain a “pro-vitamin,” or precursor, called ergosterol that is converted into vitamin D when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radia­tion. This is similar to how your skin synthesizes the vitamin in response to sun exposure. However, commercially cultivated mush­rooms are almost always grown indoors in the dark. As a result, they usually have negligible amounts of vitamin D. In contrast, wild mushrooms—notably chanterelles, mai­take, and morels—are usually rich in D because they get sun exposure.”

          http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/nutrition/article/mushrooms-and-vitamin-d

          So, if you want to get vitamin D from mushrooms, purchase mushrooms that have been cultivated in the sun or exposed to the outdoors while growing.

          According to research, the best sources of vitamin D are dried shiitake mushrooms.

          Broccoli Image:
          Skinny Cows Birthday Cards

          https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2682/2

           

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