VARY YOUR VEGGIES: Serve More Vegetables (FN1455, Revised April 2020)

Most adults and children need 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day, but the amount varies depending on age, gender and amount of physical activity.

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

Availability: Web only

What is the vegetable recommendation for a 50-year-old man?

a. 1.5 cups

b. 2 cups

c. 3 cups

Most adults and children need 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day, but the amount varies depending on age, gender and amount of physical activity. For more information about your personal recommendations for vegetables.

Answer: C

Keep Vegetables Healthful

Many people shortchange themselves on vegetables, especially dark orange and green vegetables, or they add a lot of extra sauces. To maintain the nutrition without adding extra calories and fat, keep the following points in mind:

  • Decrease the amount of ingredients that are sources of fat.
    For example, use only half the butter or margarine suggested.
  • Remove or omit ingredients that are sources of fat.
    For example, do not serve the cheese sauce.
  • Replace high-fat ingredients with low-fat ingredients.
    For example, use fat-free yogurt in place of sour cream.

Create Your Own Delights

  • Think thin when the urge to snack strikes — munch on raw fresh vegetables such as cucumber spears, green and red pepper rounds, radishes, broccoli florets, cauliflowerets, green beans, carrots and celery. Prepare a low-fat dip for vegetable dippers using a base of plain yogurt or cottage cheese. Season with herbs and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.
  • Choose a main-dish salad. Use a variety of crisp and crunchy fresh vegetables to vary your favorite salad and create some special combinations. Take advantage of the wide selection of lettuces, greens and other fresh salad vegetables.
  • Make your own low-calorie dressing. This may be as simple as mixing fresh lemon or lime juice with freshly snipped parsley or chives.
  • For a low-calorie sandwich, wrap your favorite sandwich fillings with crisp lettuce leaves. Or fill lettuce leaves with seasoned cottage cheese, drizzle with a low-calorie salad dressing and enjoy a light lunch.
  • Turn a salad into a sandwich. Place fresh cut vegetables, mixed lightly in dressing, into pita bread for an easy carry-along salad.
  • Stuff parboiled (partially cooked) or lightly steamed green peppers with other chopped fresh vegetables tossed with bread crumbs. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake for a diet-wise dinner.
  • For a party, offer a platter of colorful fresh vegetables to dip. Many guests will appreciate this option.


Summer Salad

2 quarts salad greens — combine 2 or 3.
Try romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, fresh
spinach or curly endive
6 green onions with tops, thinly sliced
6 large fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
¼ c. walnuts, coarsely chopped
¾ c. fresh parsley, finely chopped
¾ c. Tangy Dressing

Wash and dry greens. Tear into bite-sized pieces and place in large salad bowl.

Add onion, mushrooms, walnuts and parsley. Just before serving, toss with dressing.

Makes eight servings. Each 1-cup serving has 95 calories, 3.4 grams fat and 22 milligrams sodium.

Tangy Dressing

½ c. evaporated skim milk
1 6-oz. can frozen orange/pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
Pinch of ground nutmeg

Mix milk, concentrate and nutmeg. Shake well before using. This keeps well in the refrigerator for several days.

Makes 1¼ cups. Each 1-tablespoon serving has 20 calories, 0 grams fat and 6 milligrams sodium.

Options: Use other frozen juice concentrates. Use on fresh fruit for a salad.

Eat Smart. Play Hard. Together.

For more information about nutrition.

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

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

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