by Nadine Sigle, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent
Whoa! I thought eating more vegetables was supposed to be good for you. Recently I read a new report by the USDA called, “Healthy Vegetables Undermined by the Company They Keep.” The results really surprised me, but after reading the report, I totally agree with what they are saying.
In short, the report said that eating more fruit is associated with healthier weight but that Americans who eat more vegetables may actually increase their calorie and sodium intake. What?? Vegetables are naturally low in calories and sodium.
What’s happening is that when many Americans eat vegetables they prepare them in ways that add calories and sodium while reducing fiber. As a result, if your vegetables are prepared in this manner you will also get more fat, sodium and calories.
Raw vegetables were a staple in my house as a kid. We always had celery and carrots and lots of times lettuce and cabbage. During the summer, cucumbers and tomatoes were also offered at almost every lunch and supper. We ate them plain and didn’t know any different. Today, dips and dressings are very popular and the addition of them makes a very attractive relish tray or salad. Unfortunately, the base of many of these dips and dressings are either cream cheese or sour cream. Ouch! There come the calories, fat and sodium.
And we’ve all heard how good cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts) are for you. I have to confess, my favorite way to eat broccoli is with a cheese sauce. When I make the cheese sauce I do try to reduce the calories and fat by using low fat milk.
In reality, most of us need to eat more vegetables than we do to get the nutrients and fiber they provide. Try to increase the variety of vegetables and range of colors you eat. Limit the added ingredients and keep processing to a minimum. To enhance flavor, try seasoning with herbs and spices.
We can improve the company vegetables keep! And in doing so we will be giving ourselves a health boost.