Some of the wisest advice we ever received was from our mothers when they instructed us to eat our vegetables. Little did we know that the veggies, to which we crinkled our noses, would one day make us stronger.
“Vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, also known as micronutrients. It is hard to supplement all the micronutrients our bodies need, so it’s very important to eat plenty of vegetables to be sure we are giving our bodies all the energy necessary to live energetic, healthy lives,” says Cara Price, nutrition coach and creator of The Nourished Body and Soul.
To receive adequate nutrients, Cara says individuals should eat three to five servings of vegetables daily. “But most recent studies show the majority of adults only eat one to two vegetables per day,” she says. “Those micronutrients that most adults are missing are so important for bone health, heart health and keeping chances of cancer low.”
Cara says veggies that pack an extra punch of nutrients include leafy greens, such as kale, collard greens and spinach. And flavorful veggies, like red peppers and onions contain myriad beneficial vitamins and nutrients.
Though most of our palates have evolved from our persnickety childhood, incorporating the right amount of veggies into our daily diet can still seem daunting. But Cara says it can be quite simple.
“Veggies are super easy to incorporate into daily life. By putting spinach or kale into a smoothie, you get all the benefits of the raw nutrients, and you can’t even taste them, especially when they are mixed with fruit and a high-quality fat, like an avocado or nut butter,” she says.
“Things like kale, spinach and collard greens are also super easy to eat by simply sauteing them in a bit of oil and seasoning generously with salt, pepper and fresh garlic. Those vegetables cook down considerably when sautéed, so it’s easier to eat a large amount of them and benefit from all of the nutrients available.”
In addition, Cara says, “Making delicious, nutritious homemade dips is also a way to encourage eating raw vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers and celery.”
And how do we instill a love of veggies in our children? Cara says it’s as simple as including them in the preparation process.
“Kids love to eat things they are responsible for cooking, so let your kiddos help in the kitchen,'' she says. And, if that doesn’t work, get sneaky.
“Smoothies and muffins are also a great way to incorporate unrecognizable vegetables,” Cara advises. “By blending vegetables into a delicious muffin, kids get all the benefits but won’t necessarily taste the hidden veggies inside.” Now, why didn’t our moms think of that?
Visit thenourishedbodyandsoul.com for healthy recipes, nutrition information and inspiration.
Brussels & Kale Salad
4 cups finely chopped kale, stems removed
3 cups finely chopped brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
garnish: spiced pecans & dried cranberries
Place the chopped kale and brussels sprouts into a large glass bowl with a well fitting lid.
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.
Drizzle dressing over kale and brussels and toss well. Cover and refrigerate 45 minutes before serving.
Serve with a grilled chicken breast and garnish with spiced pecans and dried cranberries.
"It is hard to supplement all the micronutrients our bodies need, so it’s very important to eat plenty of vegetables to be sure we are giving our bodies all the energy necessary to live energetic, healthy lives."