Do you eat the recommended amount of veggies each day? On average, the adult recommendation is to eat 2 ½ cups of vegetables daily; the personalized amount can vary depending on age, sex, height, weight, and activity.
So what counts as a vegetable? Any 100% vegetable juice or any vegetable. Preserved vegetables count as well, whether frozen, canned, or dehydrated. Since leafy greens are more oversized, 2 cups are equivalent to serving one cup of vegetables.
There are five subgroups of vegetables based on their nutrients, dark green; red, and orange; beans, peas, and lentils; starchy and other. Eating a variety of these categories is essential as each has different amounts of beneficial vitamins and minerals. For example, one cup of raw spinach or broccoli can provide the recommended amount of vitamin K. One baked sweet potato is a good source of vitamin A. Even seaweed can be beneficial; it supplies omega-3s. Eating a good variety will go a long way to keeping you healthy.
What are some ways to add vegetables to your diet?
Try adding spinach or tomatoes to your eggs.
Roasted carrots sweeten up any smoothie.
Add a salad for lunch
Eat a veggie-based soup
Cut veggies go great with dips such as ranch dressing, hummus, or even peanut butter
Roasting veggies are amazing
Add veggies to casseroles or pasta salad
Try moving the vegetable to the main dish instead of the side
Add more veggies to reach your dietary recommendations. Here is a yummy recipe from Fresh from Florida to get you started.
Stuffed Florida Zucchini and Yellow Squash Parmesan
2 medium Florida zucchini or large yellow squash
½ cup ricotta cheese
1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup marinara sauce (your favorite)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 tablespoons fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried
Olive oil for cooking
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut off the stem side of the zucchini or yellow squash. Cut zucchini or yellow squash evenly in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, scoop out the seeds from each half to create room to hold other ingredients. Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the preheated pan. Season the zucchini or yellow squash with salt and pepper. Place the zucchini or yellow squash skin side up in the sauté pan and cook for about 2 minutes on both sides. Remove from pan and place on a cookie sheet skin side down. In a small mixing bowl, combine panko, 1 tablespoon olive oil, chopped basil and Parmesan cheese. Season ingredients to taste with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Evenly distribute the ricotta cheese and marinara sauce on top of the zucchini or yellow squash. Top the yellow squash and zucchini with the shredded mozzarella cheese. Evenly sprinkle the breadcrumb topping mixture on top of the zucchini or yellow squash. Bake the stuffed zucchini or yellow squash for 10 minutes or until topping is golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Serve warm.
“Current Dietary Guidelines.” Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 and Online Materials | Dietary Guidelines for Americans, https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/resources/2020-2025-dietary-guidelines-online-materials.
Elliott, Brianna. “17 Creative Ways to Eat More Vegetables.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 9 Sept. 2020, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-ways-to-eat-more-veggies.
“Vegetables.” MyPlate, https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/vegetables.
“Stuffed Florida Zucchini and Yellow Squash Parmesan.” Navigation, https://www.followfreshfromflorida.com/recipes/stuffed-florida-zucchini-and-yellow-squash-parmesan.