When you sit down at the dinner table, is at least half of your plate filled with fruits and vegetables? It should be. If you follow guidelines provided by the U.S.D.A., half of your plate should be fruits and veggies, while the other half should be divided between protein and grains (preferable whole grains). Families can use the ChooseMyPlate.gov plate icon as a guide.
How to Choose Healthy Vegetables
Vegetables are organized into 5 types: dark green vegetables, starchy vegetables, red and orange vegetables, beans and peas, and other vegetables.You can eat them raw, cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried. If you (or your kids) cringe at the thought of steamed broccoli, get creative and try something new.
- Dark Green Vegetables. If you stir fry bok choy, make a healthy kale salad or add a small amount of low fat cheese on top of sauteed spinach you’ll be eating veggies from this food group. Mustard greens, watercress and dark green leafy lettuce are also a part of this group.
- Starchy vegetables. Popular frozen favorites like corn and peas are part of this group, along with lima beans, potatoes, and water chestnuts.
- Red and Orange Vegetables. Many peppers and squash varieties fall into this category. Need a fun way to include more red and orange veggies into your meals? Steam sweet potatoes or cut them into slivers and bake them to make low-fat, festive french fries.
- Beans and Peas. Navy beans, pinto beans and garbanzo beans are part of this food group. Beans can be purchased dry or canned and are easily added to salads, soups or stews.
- Other vegetables. You’ll find many veggies in the local produce department that don’t fall into any of the categories above. But you should still eat them! Mash cauliflower instead of potatoes, create lasagna with eggplant instead of pasta or saute zucchini to add a dash of color to your dinner plate.
Experimenting with new types of vegetables is the best way to find new varieties that you and your family will enjoy. Get more information about including veggies and fruit in your diet at ChooseMyPlate.gov