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Mom was your veggies

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I know, I know...your Mom (or maybe it was dad instead) always made you eat a green vegetable with dinner...turns out our parents were onto something! There's no doubt about it - vegetables are healthy! And eating fruit and vegetables, along with lean meats and whole grains, is a safe way to lose and maintain a healthy weight. Studies also show that diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some cancer and other chronic diseases - making vegetables an important part of diets even for those who aren't trying to lose weight. Vegetables and fruits supply the body with essential vitamins and minerals. Bonus: most are low in calories (and certainly lower in calories than starchier carbohydrate counterparts and sugary snacks!). Looking to incorporate more veggies into your diet? Here are some of our favorite tips:

  • Discover faster ways to cook. If you're short on time in the kitchen, then cook fresh or frozen veggies in the microwave for a quick-and-easy dish to add to any meal. Steam green beans, broccoli or zucchini in the microwave for a quick side dish.
  • Be ahead of the game. Cut up a batches of veggies and fruits to eat when time is limited. Store them in a see-through container in the fridge, so you can quickly see and select the pre-cut goodies to include in a meal or grab them for an on-the-go lunch. When you've got your vegetables already prepped and ready to go, there's nothing to slow you down or stop you from getting them in!
  • Choose veggies rich in color. Brighten your plate with vegetables that are all different colors. They are full of vitamins and minerals and make your meals more visually appealing. Try raw cherry tomatoes, eggplant, cauliflower, romaine lettuce and asparagus to create a meal that's equally as delicious to eat as it is to look at!
  • Have frozen veggies on hand. Frozen vegetables are quick and easy to use - and are often times just as nutritious as fresh veggies. Try adding frozen peas, green beans, spinach or broccoli to some of your favorite dishes or eat as a side dish.
  • Elevate your salad. Getting bored of a bowl of green? Make your garden salad glow with color. Brighten your salad by using colorful vegetables such as shredded radishes, chopped red cabbage, or yellow bell pepper slices. The more you like looking at your food, the more inclined you are to eat it!
  • Sip on some vegetable soup. Use your MRC Cookbook to find yummy soups, which include vegetables. Pro-tip: prepare a larger batch and freeze your leftovers so you've got a quick vegetable-rich meal to come back to in the future!
  • Don't skip the veggies at restaurants. If dinner is away from home, that's no reason to skip your veggies. Replace carb-heavy sides with green salads or steamed vegetables. Just be sure to get the dressings on the sides and ask for your vegetables to be prepared without butters and oils.
  • Savor the flavor. Many vegetables are seasonal. This means when they are "in season" they have maximum flavor with minimal cost! Check your local supermarket specials for the best-in-season buys. Or take a trip to a nearby farmer's market for the freshest options!
  • Keep visible reminders. Not getting enough vegetables in because you simply can't remember? Not to worry! Give yourself visual cues to remind you to eat up on those veggies and fruits. Keep a bowl of whole fruit on the table, counter or in the fridge. This will serve as a daily reminder to get in your daily fruit servings!
  • Be a role model. Set a positive example for the entire family by eating fruit and veggies every day with meals or as snacks. Let the kids choose which fruits and vegetables to include in meals or allow them to pick a new vegetable or fruit to try while grocery shopping.

For more ideas on how to creatively, easily, and deliciously incorporate more vegetables and fruits into your diet, visit MRC's Online Recipe Collection and get the latest version of the MRC Cookbook from an MRC Office near you today!

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