A vegetable, is broadly defined as “any plant cultivated for the edible part of it such as the leaves, roots, fruit or flowers but which excludes any plant considered to be a grain, spice or fruits.” Their consumption is vital in order for us to get adequate amounts of essential vitamins, minerals, macronutrients and water. Are you ready to veg out?
Everyone knows that eating your veg will contribute to your overall health but are you clued up on these other benefits too?
- They are low in calories yet high in fiber and so are beneficial in weight loss and weight management
- They possess no cholesterol and thus reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke
- Vegetables help to fight against type-2 diabetes
- Veggies contain elements that help your body to produce red blood cells
- They aid in proper digestion and a healthy, well-functioning bowel
- Vegetables help to protect and repair your skin and eyes
- They aid in the healing of wounds and keeping of our teeth and gums healthy
- Vegetables help to fight against certain types of cancer
- They help to decrease the rate of bone loss in our body
Although there is no fixed amount of vegetables that should be consumed per day, we all know about the ‘5-a-day’ guideline. However, this is old-fashioned advice, we should in fact be consuming between 7 and 12 servings of fruit and veg per day (with a much larger emphasis on the veg!). This amount can vary based on the individual’s age, weight, level of activity and gender. A ‘serving’ is generally a fist sized amount.
Try the following 10 tips to boost your veg intake throughout the day:
- Add veggies such as spinach, celery and carrots to smoothies or juices
- Add chopped vegetables such as mushrooms, peppers and courgette to pasta or rice
- Choose meals which naturally encourage more veg, such as stir fries!
- Swap a sandwich for a vegetable based soup
- Instead of crisps or cereal bars, pick veggie crudités and hummus or salsa
- Try spiralized vegetables such as butternut squash instead of using spaghetti
- Swap out burger buns for big lettuce leaf wraps!
- Ditch your morning cereals and choose a veggie packed omelet instead
- Get used to serving your ‘carb’ rich meals such as lasagna or pizza with a side salad (this will make your portion smaller too!)
- Jump on the ‘meat free Monday’ bandwagon and have fun creating entirely vegetarian dishes!