What is one of the best ways to improve your health? Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with lots of the good stuff such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Yet, they are low in calories making them power houses in nutrition. The Dietary Guidelines reports most Americans, from children to adults, eat less than the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables.
Which are the Best Fruits?
Fresh fruit and frozen fruit with no added sugar are best. Fruit juices are loaded with natural sugar and calories, so it is best to avoid if you are trying to lose weight and/or have diabetes. Fruit is an easy snack or eat a piece with every meal.
Eat More Non-Starchy Vegetables
All vegetables are good choices but starchy vegetables —beans, corn, green peas and potatoes — have more calories and carbohydrates than the non-starchy choices. You may need to limit the starchy vegetables to control your weight and/or if you are diabetic. The good news is most vegetables are the non-starchy type and only have 25 calories for a half-cup serving. A few examples are asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, green beans, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes and zucchini.
Rebalance Your Plate
Chances are you’ve been eating like the typical American, which means your food plate contains too few vegetables and too much meat and starch. It is easy to rebalance your plate and eat ½ plate of non-starchy vegetables, ¼ plate lean meat and ¼ plate starch. Then add a piece of fruit or yogurt for dessert, and you have a complete healthy meal.
Don’t like Vegetables?
I have had several people tell me that they don’t like a particular vegetable but after trying some of my recipes they now like that vegetable! There are a couple of reasons - our taste buds mellow with age and how the vegetable is prepared. Steaming allows the vegetable’s flavor to come through, but if it is not you favorite vegetable you may prefer roasting or caramelizing the vegetable. Roasted or grilled asparagus is quite different from steamed. It is worth retrying a vegetable and cook it in a new way.
Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli are strong- tasting. A delicious mustard or curry sauce adds a bold flavor and diminishes the strong-vegetable taste. Try this curry sauce; you may find yourself adding it to other foods, but it is well suited for broccoli and cauliflower. This sauce has a hint of cool from the yogurt, sweet from the mango chutney and zest from the curry and lime juice.
Broccoli with Curry Sauce
Broccoli is a one of our most versatile vegetables and can be served raw or cooked. Topping it with curry sauce adds just the right balance of spicy and sweet and it stands up well to broccoli’s bold flavor.
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons nonfat yogurt, plain
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1⁄4 cup mango chutney
16 oz. broccoli, trim ends
Combine in a small bowl garlic, yogurt, curry powder, lime juice, olive oil and chutney. Stir well. Allow to sit for flavors to meld.
Place steamer basket in a large sauce pan or soup pot. Add water; fill slightly below the basket. Toss broccoli in the basket. Heat over high heat and bring water to boil. Steam broccoli until crisp-tender. Remove from steamer; serve broccoli drizzled with curry sauce.
NUTRITION INFORMATION FOR 1 SERVING BROCCOLI AND SAUCE: 97 calories, 4g protein, 14g carbs, 4g fat, 0mg chol, 1g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 3g fiber, 45mg sodium