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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that Americans are still simply not eating their vegetables. Food pyramids advise us to eat at least five servings per day and some up to eight or nine. We see commercials every day advising us to “drink our vegetables” and add a salad to our evening meals or chomp down our raw veggies with a delicious dressing. But only one in four of us actually eat more than three servings a day. And some of the people included in this “three servings a day or more” counted pickles, lettuce, tomatoes etc to their count – all the stuff they put on their hamburgers.
The reason why our vegetable intake is so important is that they are so good for us that they can change our health completely. Filled with fiber, potassium, calcium, beta carotene, Vitamins B, C, D, E, K and other vitamins and minerals– they are directly linked to heart health, with anti-cancer properties, and building strong muscles and bones. Our colons, eyes and skin feel the difference, as does our weight and body fat levels. Five servings of veggies in as many days of the week as we can, is a great gift to our bodies, and those of our loved ones. Veggies are good hydrators and are very low in both calories and fats.
So why are we not eating them? There are many reasons. Some include plain old laziness. Why wash, peel and chop veggies when we can eat something pre-prepare and near instant? We’ve also conditioned ourselves to think we don’t like veggies but we actually find them to be really good when placed in front of us. Veggies – especially those in season – are really cheap. Head to a farmer’s market at the end of the day and we can get ten bucks worth of locally grown foods for five. The supermarkets often offer the same deals and chopping and peeling can be done while watching our favorite shows (if we really must!)
So what are some ideas about making vegetables a part of our daily lives?
(Firstly – a serving of vegetables is the following: One cup of leafy veggies, half a cup of chopped vegetables – really not a lot when we think about it. )
Fast food joints are adding lots of salad options to their menus.