As we move into the new year of creating health, strategies can be helpful on this journey. Eating vegetables at least 2 meals per day is a great start. Avoiding veggies that come in a can; choosing fresh or frozen is optimal for the best nutrition. A great target is 2 servings at lunch and 2 servings at dinner. 1 serving of vegetables = about 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked and it’s great to think of eating a rainbow of colors in your vegetables. The more color, the more nutrition and it’s best to limit higher starch options like corn and white potatoes.
Why are veggies so important? Every pathway in our body from detox to energy production and even heart health needs vitamins and minerals to keep our systems working efficiently. Our best source of vitamins and minerals are vegetables so when we eat our veggies, it makes our food be our medicine! There are many other added bonuses to eating veggies like providing fiber for our gut, cancer prevention and immune support. One simple strategy is to buy a veggie tray from your favorite market and ditch the dressing -add hummus and you have veggies ready to go!
One vitamin you can’t get from eating vegetables is Vitamin D. We absorb Vitamin D from the sun and the darkness of the winter months reduces our sun exposure. Surprisingly, many people are deficient in Vitamin D even in the summer months. Your doctor can check your levels to see if you are deficient. General recommendations are 2,000 IU’s for adults and 1,000 IU’s for children per day. Low Vitamin D levels are linked to immune challenges, low bone density and blood sugar issues.
Here is a great recipe for making tasty and ‘healthy’ veggies!
Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower & Brussels Sprouts
*1 medium cauliflower, quartered, cored and cut into 1-inch florets
*2 cups (1 pint) Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
*3 TBS olive oil
*3 large cloves garlic, sliced as thin as possible
*1 ½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary or ½ tsp dried, crumbled
*½ tsp freshly ground pepper
*¾ tsp coarse salt
1. In large bowl, combine cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Drizzle oil on top. Add garlic, rosemary and pepper and toss well. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 450°F. Spread vegetables in single layer on large baking sheet with sides. Sprinkle with salt. Roast until vegetables are crisp-tender and beginning to brown at edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Note: These roasted vegetables are enhanced with a fragrant mixture of rosemary, garlic, and olive oil. Start them a day ahead if you can so that they can absorb the full flavor of the marinade.
[This recipe is from http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/roasted–cauliflower–and–brussels–sprouts/]
Holly Niles is a licensed Clinical Nutritionist and Nutrition Director at Integrative Wellness & Physical Therapy in Bloomfield, CT. For more information about Holly and Integrative Wellness & Physical Therapy, you can call (860)519-1916 or visit www.IntegrativeWellnessAndPT.com. To order high quality, professional-grade vitamin D, you can visit the website products page.