1. Vegetables are the least calorically-dense foods on the planet. Typically, they range between 14 calories per 100 grams (as in iceberg lettuce) to 86 calories per 100 grams (as in a sweet potato). This is versus the most calorie-dense foods like nuts, which have about 500-600 calories per 100 grams, and oils, which have about 880 calories per 100 grams.
2. Vegetables are one of the most nutrient-dense food groups on the planet. Per calorie, vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fibers…many of which are not so readily available elsewhere….think folate, potassium, vitamins A and C, carotenoids, flavonoids, and isothiocyantes. And the list goes on and on…and on and on…
3. Vegetables contain disease-fighting power like no other food group….high vegetable intake has been shown to lower risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, and to improve gastrointestinal health and vision.
4. Everyone agrees that we need to eat more vegetables….including – but not limited to – the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, American Institute for Cancer Research – AICR, World Health Organization (WHO), etc.
1. Start your day with fruit, a green smoothie, or a green juice.
2. Eat all of your meals on a bed of salad or cooked vegetables.
3. Begin most meals with soup or salad.
4. Add plenty of veggies to every dish you cook or prepare, on sandwiches, in wraps, stir-fries, casseroles, etc.
5. Eat your fruits and/or vegetables before anything else to fill up faster and ensure you get them in.
6. Pick fruits and veggies that you enjoy and prepare them how you love to eat them.
7. Visit a farmer’s market or join a CSA to promote regular accessibility to fresh, local, and seasonal produce.
8. Place veggies at the center of the plate and focus on a rainbow array of colors…use a leafy green or sea vegetable as bread or a bun, make a veggie burger out of different veggies (mushrooms, beets, cauliflower, etc.), or make a gorgeous stir-fry…
*Steamed veggies cartoon via Neal Barnard, M.D.
*Picture from The Kitchn