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How to follow through with health goals by consuming enough vegetables

The new year sparks the desire to improve fitness and health. Your motivation may be depleting in February, but you can’t lose sight of your goals yet. Eating vegetables is an essential part in fueling your body the right way, so you must commit to consuming the recommended five daily servings.

Life Sciences Lifestyle: Getting Enough Vegetables in Your Diet

Concerning the consumption and need for vegetables, BYU dietetics professor Pauline Williams said, “Nearly 90 percent of the US population does not eat the recommended amount of vegetables. A simple change of eating more vegetables can have a big impact on health. Vegetables provide many nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals and are a key piece of healthy eating patterns. Healthy eating patterns can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity.”

Here’s what Williams suggests:

1. Eat the rainbow
See how many colors of the rainbow you can incorporate into your diet with vegetables. When you brighten up your plate, you also provide your body with a larger variety of vitamins and minerals. Plus, your taste buds will thank you!
Vegetables come in many colors; red- tomatoes, orange- sweet potatoes, yellow- summer squash, green- Brussel sprouts, blue/purple- eggplant, white- onions.

2. Battle the snack attack
Prepare vegetables for when you are on-the-go. Having vegetables readily available makes it easier to eat a sufficient amount and avoid bad snacking habits. Some packable munchies are radishes, snap peas, sliced bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes. Grab your veggies and keep them close for your next snack attack.

3. Keep it cool
Fresh produce can be pricy and seemingly impossible to keep fresh. Try purchasing frozen vegetables as a way to save money and store them for longer. Bonus: Frozen vegetables maintain their nutrition and are easy to cook with. Roast up some frozen butternut squash, add frozen spinach to soup, or toss a bag of mixed vegetables with chicken for a quick stir-fry dinner.

4. Prep for the best
Food-prep is the perfect way to make sure you get enough vegetables in your diet. Preparing vegetables can become cumbersome with washing, chopping, roasting, and steaming, but they’re a life-saver in the end. Plan a time every week to cut up your celery sticks, dice your onions, and peel your squash.

5. See past the side dish
Vegetables are so much more than a bland side dish or vehicle for ranch. Try adding veggies to your breakfast by incorporating them into omelets and smoothies. You can also construct veggie-based entrees to ensure you get your vegetables in without even thinking about it. Some vegetable packed entrees include stir-fry, vegetable lasagna, kebabs, and stuffed peppers. Try something new!

Tasting the rainbow doesn’t have to be a chore, and your body will thank you for making it a priority.

Tips to consume enough vegetables
Photo by Dylan Smith

Life Science Lifestyle: connecting you to science
The Lifestyle series provides practical tips to enhance the quality of your every-day life through the outstanding scientific expertise and research of the faculty within the eight departments of the College of Life Sciences.