Friday, June 17, 2011

Eat Your Vegetables Day, June17th

Key Consumer Message:
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

The Nutrition of Vegetables 
* Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. They do not have cholesterol.

* Vegetables are an important source of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin C.

* Vegetables are a good source of Dietary fiber and may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods such as vegetables help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.

Vegetables, from the
Dietary Recommendations for Americans, 2010
Increase vegetable intake. Eat recommended amounts of vegetables, and include a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green vegetables, red and orange vegetables, and beans and peas.

Include vegetables in meals and in snacks. Fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables all count. When eating canned vegetables, choose those labeled as reduced sodium or no salt-added. Add dark-green, red, and orange vegetables to soups, stews, casseroles, stir-fries, and other main and side dishes. Use dark leafy greens, such as romaine lettuce and spinach, to make salads. Focus on dietary fiber—beans and peas are a great source. Add beans or peas to salads (e.g., kidney or garbanzo beans), soups (e.g., split peas or lentils), and side dishes (e.g., baked beans or pinto beans), or serve as a main dish. Keep raw, cut-up vegetables handy for quick snacks. If serving with a dip, choose lower calorie options, such as yogurt-based dressings or hummus, instead of sour cream or cream cheese-based dips. When eating out, choose a vegetable as a side dish. With cooked vegetables, request that they be prepared with little or no fat and salt. With salads, ask for the dressing on the side so you can decide how much you use. When adding sauces, condiments, or dressings to vegetables, use small amounts and look for lower calorie options (e.g., reduced-fat cheese sauce or fat-free dressing). Sauces can make vegetables more appealing, but often add extra calories.

Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the Vegetable Group. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, or mashed.

Vegetables are organized into 5 subgroups, based on their nutrient content.

Dark-green vegetables.
  All fresh, frozen, and canned dark-green leafy vegetables and broccoli, cooked or raw: for example, broccoli; spinach; romaine; collard, turnip, and mustard greens.

Red and orange vegetables.  All fresh, frozen, and canned red and orange vegetables, cooked or raw: for example, tomatoes, red peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and pumpkin.

Beans and peas (legumes).
All cooked beans and peas: for example, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, and pinto beans. Does not include green beans or green peas. (May be used under protein foods group.)
Starchy vegetables.  All fresh, frozen, and canned starchy vegetables: for example, white potatoes, corn, green peas.

Other vegetables.  All fresh, frozen, and canned other vegetables, cooked or raw: for example, iceberg lettuce, green beans, and onions.

How many vegetables are needed daily? The amount of vegetables you need depends on your age, sex and level of physical activity.

Recommended Total Daily Amounts*
Children 2-3 years old; 1 cup
Children 4-8 years old; 1 ½ cups
Girls 9-13 years old; 2 cups
Girls 14-18 years old; 2 ½ cups
Boys 9-13 years old;  2 ½ cups
Boys 14-18 years old;  3 cups
Women 19-30 years old;  2 ½ cups
Women 31-50 years old; 2 ½ cups
Woman 51+ years old; 2 cups
Men 19-50 years old;  3 cups
Men 51+ years old; 2 ½ cups

*These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity, beyond normal daily activities. Those who are more physically active may be able to consume more while staying within calorie needs. To see how many vegetables you need follow the link to MyPlate. 

Safety and Vegetables
* Wash vegetables before preparing or eating them. Under clean, running water, rub vegetables briskly with your hands to remove dirt and surface microorganisms. Dry after washing.
* Keep vegetables separate from raw meat, poultry and seafood while shopping, preparing and storing.

Healthy Kids PSA: Color of Life

Bring color to your life, and your plate, with nutritious, delicious vegetables. Visit Fruits and Veggies,  More Matters for healthy recipes, menus, fruit and vegetable nutrition information, tips on healthy meal planning and how to get your kids involved in healthy cooking!

The Beach Boys singing Vegetables, 1967

John Leguizamo is
Captain Vegetable on Sesame Street


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