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VARY YOUR VEGGIES: Add Some Vegetables to Your Diet (FN1454 (Revised))

Keep washed, ready-to-eat vegetables on hand and easy to find. How many times does someone in your family open the refrigerator door to see what there is to eat and take one of the first foods he or she sees? So let the cleaned vegetables be seen first. Also, set them out when meals and snacks are eaten. On the run? Cut up some veggies and put them in zip-top bags. Stop in the produce department to see if some vegetables are cut up and ready to eat for a snack. If you do not have a cooler or refrigerator nearby, remember to eat cut-up produce within two hours for safety.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D. Food and Nutrition Specialist


Veggies you have on hand

Try one new vegetable a week!

Consider some of the following options to increase your vegetables:

Keep washed, ready-to-eat vegetables on hand and easy to find. How many times does someone in your family open the refrigerator door to see what there is to eat and take one of the first foods he or she sees? So let the cleaned vegetables be seen first. Also, set them out when meals and snacks are eaten.

On the run? Cut up some veggies and put them in zip-top bags. Stop in the produce department to see if some vegetables are cut up and ready to eat for a snack. If you do not have a cooler or refrigerator nearby, remember to eat cut-up produce within two hours for safety.

Serve vegetables with other favorite foods. For instance, serve a mixed vegetable salad or raw vegetable plate with pizza or hamburgers.

Add vegetables to other foods: Put tomato slices, sprouts and greens, such as spinach or lettuce, into a sandwich; mix pasta or rice with summer squash (such as zucchini), red pepper strips or broccoli florets; add a layer of spinach to lasagna; grate zucchini or carrots into meat loaves and hamburgers.

Add something to vegetables if you must. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese or top with a melted low-fat cheese or white sauce made with low-fat milk. Spread with a little cream cheese. Make a dip by blending nonfat or low-fat cottage cheese (or reduced-calorie mayonnaise) with a few tablespoons of low-fat salad dressing (or with dry salad dressing or soup mix).

Recipes!

Hearty Vegetable Beef Soup

(Makes four servings)

10.5-oz. can unsalted chicken broth*

½ c. water

2 c. frozen mixed vegetables for soup

16-oz. can tomatoes, broken up

1 c. beef, cooked, diced

1 tsp. thyme leaves, crushed

Dash pepper

¼ tsp. salt

1 bay leaf

2 oz. (about 1¼ c.) narrow-width noodles, uncooked

*Reduced-sodium broth may be used and the salt omitted

Heat broth and water. Add vegetables, meat and seasonings. Bring to boil, reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Add noodles. Cook until noodles are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 200 calories, 4 grams fat and 391 milligrams sodium.

Soup Substitutes

Many vegetable recipes call for canned soups, which are often high in sodium. You may want to try these substitutes:

Medium White Sauce Base

(May be made on top of the stove or in a microwave.)

1 Tbsp. margarine

2 Tbsp. flour

1 c. skim milk

c tsp. pepper

Herbs or spices may be mixed with the flour for added taste and interest. Start with c teaspoon and then let your taste be your guide.

On top of the stove:

Melt margarine in a saucepan. Add flour. Stirring constantly, heat until the mixture bubbles. Continue to cook and stir an additional minute. Do not allow to brown. Add skim milk and continue stirring until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Add pepper.

In microwave:

Melt margarine in a 4-cup measure on high for 30 to 50 seconds. Stir in flour. Microwave until the mixture bubbles and continue to cook for 30 seconds. Stir in skim milk and microwave six to eight minutes, until mixture thickens, stirring every couple of minutes. Add pepper.

  • For Cream of Celery Soup, add ¼ cup chopped celery.
  • For Cream of Mushroom Soup, add 1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms or ½ cup canned mushrooms
  • For Cream of Chicken Soup, replace ½ of the skim milk in the white sauce with a low-sodium chicken broth.

 Eat Smart. Play Hard. Together.

Source: Adapted from “Creative Vegetable Cookery,” NDSU Extension Service; authored by Pat Beck.

Materials were partially funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Reviewed January 2015


 

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