In Nutrition

Happy Wellness Wednesday!

Wellness Wednesday emails are designed to provide you with simple tools, information, and resources to encourage positive and healthy lifestyle choices. As a proud recipient of The Healthy Arizona Worksite Award, The Be Kind People Project is committed to the health and wellness of their employees, friends, and family.

Why are vegetables important?

Choosemyplate.gov recommends that you eat 2 ½ cups of vegetables per day for women and 3 cups per day for men but why? Vegetables contain phytonutrients and  fiber – two essential building blocks your body needs to function. Vegetables are rich in most of the vitamins and minerals your body needs as well.

  • Phytonutrients have many names: antioxidants, polyphenols, flavones, carotenoids, and phytochemicals.
  • Phytochemicals help prevent cancer, heart disease, promote healthy vision, and even skin health.
  • Fiber is crucial for your digestive health and can also help prevent colon cancer. Fiber acts like a broom that helps sweep out all of the waste after your body has absorbed all the nutrients it needed from the meals that you eat.

What counts as a vegetable? 

Vegetables can break down into five subgroups:

  • Dark-green vegetables – Leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard, and romaine lettuce; broccoli, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts.
  • Starchy vegetables – Potatoes (like russet, golden, and red potatoes), green peas, and corn.
  • Red and orange vegetables – Carrots, yams, bell peppers, and butternut squash.
  • Beans and peas – Black and pinto beans, black-eyed peas, split peas, soybeans, and chickpeas.
  • Other – Zucchini squash, eggplant, celery, cucumbers, mushrooms, and onions.

For a complete list of all vegetables click here!

How can you incorporate more veggies into your diet?

If you are not a vegetable lover, getting your daily recommended amount can feel overwhelming and unsatisfying. Below is a list of the many ways you start to enjoy vegetables in a way that is fun and tasty.

  • Salad – Make a big hearty salad that contains more than just romaine lettuce and croutons. Try adding three different complementary greens, cucumber for some crunch, onions for flavor, and a dressing and protein of your choice.
  • Airfryer – Chop up some winter squash, give them a nice drizzle with olive oil and toss them in seasoning, and air fry them!
  • Grilled – During the summertime, you can make vegetable kabobs with bell pepper, squash, and onion. You can elevate those Kabobs with a tasty teriyaki or honey barbeque sauce.
  • Add your favorite sauce – Another fun way to upgrade your veggies is by sauteing them in the skillet with a balsamic reduction, soy sauce, or coconut aminos.
  • Roasted – If you do not have an air fryer, roasting cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower is a delicious alternative because you get a similar result, with a slightly longer cooking time. Toss them in oil, salt, and pepper, place them on a lined baking sheet and place them in the oven!
  • Steamed – Another simple way to enjoy vegetables is by steaming your vegetables. Most frozen vegetable packages come in steamable bags, so all you need to do is place the entire bag in the microwave, follow the instructions on the packaging instructions, serve and enjoy!

Eat the Rainbow!

Start searching the web, or find a cooking video and try a new recipe. Search the list of vegetables, pick a new vegetable you have not tried, and cook with it every day of the week.

Meet the Author: Karina Bettis, School Wellness Programs and Events Intern

Karina Bettis is currently completing her senior year as a nutrition major at Arizona State University. She is currently interning with the Be Kind People Project to complete her degree, as well as gain fieldwork experience. Karina is also a mom of a sassy and hilarious 6-year-old girl and loves dancing, baking, and nail art. She is excited to begin her journey with this company and learn all that she can during her time here. Her goal, once graduating, is to work in the public health field for either a non-profit company or her local county to help educate and promote health and wellness for all walks of life.

Karina’s favorite Be Kind pledge is Be Helpful. Being helpful and volunteering your time can help improve your overall mood and feel more content in life.

Published 18th, 2020

By Karina Bettis, School Wellness Programs and Events Intern

Questions? Comments? Want to contribute to the Wellness Wednesday Bulletin?
Send your ideas to Krysta Flores at krysta@bkpp.org.