“Eat your veggies. They are good for you.” How many times did your mother say that? How many times have you said that? Well, it is true! The health benefits of vegetables are many. Veggies are an essential component of any healthy diet. Here is a bit of information that helps show you why vegetables are so important and shares a few easy ways to get more veggies in your diet. This post is sponsored by Birds Eye but all opinions expressed are my own.
Health Benefits Of Vegetables
Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients that our bodies need to function at their best. According to choosemyplate.gov, “people who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.” Now, if that is not an important health benefit of vegetables, I don’t know what is!
Here are a few more health benefits of vegetables: (source: choosemyplate.gov)
Vegetables are an important source of dietary fiber which is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation which helps you feel and look better. Because vegetables are high in fiber they help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories which is an important element of weight management. As part of an overall healthy diet, fiber helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease.
Vegetables are an important source of Vitamin A which keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.
Vegetables are an important source of Vitamin C which helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C also aids in iron absorption.
Many vegetables are rich in potassium which, as part of an overall healthy diet, may lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of developing kidney stones, and help to decrease bone loss.
Really I could go on, there are just so many health benefits of vegetables.
How Much Vegetables Should I Eat?
The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines recommended adults eat anywhere from 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day depending on age, gender, physical activity, and overall health. Now, ChooseMyPlate.gov suggests cups of vegetables as serving guidelines, see their chart for details but her is an overview:
2-3 years old- 1 cup
4-8 years old- 1 1/2 cups
9-18 years old- 2-3 cups based on sex and age
women and men- 2-3 cups based on sex and age
Easy Ways To Eat More Veggies
Even though veggies are so important and eating the proper amounts as part of your healthy diet can help protect against some types of cancer, most people just don’t eat enough veggies! In fact, according to the State of the Plate report, 9 out of 10 people in the United States do not eat the proper amount of vegetables. Shocking!
I personally think that spreading awareness is the key to getting people to improve their diets by eating more veggies. As a child, my mother always served 1-3 veggies as dinner time and I always had 1-3 in my lunch box. My mother always reminded me how good they were for me and I wanted to eat them. With my own kids, I began reminding them that eating spinach and other veggies makes you grow big and strong “like Popeye” when they were just toddlers.
Birds Eye has partnered with the Environmental Media Association’s “Green My School” celebrity gardens program in an effort to instill the importance of plant-based nutrition for students and their families. Select celebrities visit their hometown schools as a “Green My School” ambassador and work with the students there to plant and cultivate a community garden. Through the on-going program, students learn the importance of plant-based nutrition and the basics of agriculture. Most recently, Lance Bass kicked off this program in his hometown of Clinton, MS. He worked with students from Eastside Elementary School and even got to visit with one of his old teachers there! I think that gardening at home and in schools is a great way to teach children about vegetables and their importance and just how yummy they can be.
Beyond gardening, and raising awareness of the health benefits of vegetables there are lots of easy ways to get more veggies in your diet.
1. Add veggies to your breakfast. (chop some up in your omelet)
2. Add veggies to your sandwich. (add lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts, etc)
3. Serve 2-3 veggie sides at dinner. (yum)
4. Juice vegetables to drink more.
5. People often run out of fresh veggies quickly so keep your freezer stocked up. While all vegetables are good for you, frozen vegetables offer unique benefits such as year-round availability and affordability, convenience, and low waste. Birdseye makes sure that all of their vegetables must provide the ultimate in taste, color, texture and tenderness by harvesting at the peak of ripeness and delivering within hours to be cleaned and quick-steamed to lock in color, nutrition and taste. I can tell you that Birdseye frozen veggies are my favorite frozen veggies, which is why I was so happy to work with them. You can check out their vegetable selection and recipes at birdseye.com
6. Keep veggies snacks on hand. (baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, pepper strips)
7. Try veggies in a new way. Birds Eye stays in touch with today’s consumer through innovation such as Birds Eye Steamfresh Disney veggies and pasta, Birds Eye Steamfresh Protein Blends and Birds Eye Steamfresh Flavorful. My daughter loves the Birds Eye Steamfresh Protein Blends as after school snacks.
Whether you pick them in a garden or grab them out of the freezer, vegetables should be a part of every day for every person. Go grab some veggies now if you can and commit to getting your daily servings in. Did you know about all the health benefits of vegetables?