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Johns Hopkins Health Alert/How to eat more Veggies

Posted Apr 13 2009 11:00pm

The latest food pyramid recommends that you eat 2-4 cups of vegetables a day (the exact amount depends on your age, gender, and activity level). But that’s not always an easy task. Here, then, are some ideas from the experts on how to get your vegetables — and enjoy them, too.

Sneaking In Your Vegetables

* Pile vegetables onto your sandwiches. Don’t stop at lettuce and tomato. You can also add cucumbers, shredded carrots, or peppers, to name a few.

* Hide the vegetables. If you’re not a vegetable fan, try adding vegetables to other dishes to hide their flavor. Purée cooked vegetables such as potatoes and add them to stews, soups, and gravies to make them thicker. Add shredded carrots or zucchini to meatloaf, casseroles, muffins, and breads, and chopped broccoli, mushrooms, or green beans to tomato sauce. Use spinach in lasagna instead of meat. Top pizza with mushrooms, peppers, and other vegetables, and load egg dishes such as omelettes and frittatas with sautéed vegetables.

Mix up your cooking routine.

* Try stir-frying or sautéing vegetables, grilling them on skewers or in tin foil, or roasting, baking, or lightly steaming them (to retain their crunch and nutritional wallop).

* Or try stuffing your vegetable. Load a baked potato with some broccoli and low-fat cheese or some tomato sauce, chopped spinach, and part-skim mozzarella; then broil, bake, or microwave until it bubbles. The same goes for a red or green pepper — fill with lentils or rice and beans and cook.

* Add some flavor. Healthy fats such as olive or peanut oil lightly drizzled over vegetables or in a stir-fry can make them much tastier, as can herbs and spices like basil, tarragon, and oregano.

* Also consider sauces and dips for your vegetables; just make sure they’re low in saturated fat. Good options include salsa, hummus, and low- fat yogurt dips.

* Make vegetables the main dish. Plan your meal around a salad, soup, or vegetable stir fry. Add small servings of other foods — lean meat or poultry or low-fat dairy products — as side dishes.

Posted in Nutrition and Weight Control on April 8, 2009

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