Five Nutritional Reasons for Increasing Your Veggie Intake
By Tara Collingwood, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN
Getting vegetables into your daily eating habits is the way to go for disease prevention, weight management, vitality, and just overall good health! The problem is that most of us do not meet the recommended amounts of veggies.
According to MyPlate.gov and the United States Department of Agriculture, women should aim for two to three cups per day while men should aim for three to four cups of vegetables per day, with 1 cup = 1 cup cooked/juiced or 2 cups raw veggies.
Sounds easy, right? As a registered dietician and nutritionist consultant, I know firsthand how often we forget the nutritional value behind our veggies or how easy it is to avoid mindful eating. So I’m sharing the top five nutritional reasons for increasing your vegetable intake:
Why Eat More Veggies?
Low in calories
Don’t feel obligated to eat whatever is being served or is left in the pantry. Veggies help fill you up and take up some space on your plate without taking in a lot of calories.
Low in fat
Veggies are naturally low in fat, which is good for the heart and the waistline.
Fiber, fiber, fiber!
All veggies have at least a little bit of fiber, and some have LOTS of fiber – think legumes, otherwise known as beans! Fiber is indigestible plant matter, which means that while your body tries to digest the fiber, it keeps the stomach busy and satisfied. Fiber is also good for the digestive tract, lowering the risk of digestive diseases.
While we can’t ever guarantee that one food will prevent disease, we know that high vegetable intake has been directly linked to lowered risk of the major chronic diseases like heart disease, cancers, diabetes and more.
Any form is good!
I am a fan of fresh, but I can’t argue with the convenience of frozen and canned veggies. In fact, frozen and canned are usually picked at their peak of ripeness, which also means the peak of nutritional value. I don’t care how you get them, just eat your veggies!
How are you doing with your intake? Coming close or exceeding it? If not, click the second link below for my easy and creative ways to get more veggies into your diet, without just having a side of broccoli staring at you from your dinner plate!
About Tara Gidus Collingwood, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN
Tara is a sports dietitian in Orlando, FL. She works with the US Tennis Association, University of Central Florida athletics, World Wrestling Entertainment, Leadbetter Golf Academies and Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute. She was the team dietitian for the Orlando Magic for 10 years. She also wrote Pregnancy Cooking and Nutrition for Dummies and Co-authored Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies. Tara enjoys being active with her husband and 4 boys.
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