V-E-G-E-T-A-B-L-E-S! The ten-letter word we cannot seem to consume enough of. Let us be honest, the struggle is real! It is not only children who struggle consuming enough vegetables, some adults do as well. Vegetables are an essential part of maintaining an overall healthy diet. For example, according to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death among women. When I discovered this fact, it was around the same time I read the later part of Ecclesiastes 10 verse 17 which states, “eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness”. Yikes! Desiring to obey God’s word (and form a healthy diet) I started increasing my vegetable intake.
Fruits were never a problem, but vegetables are an entirely different story. Mentally, I knew my body thanked me; but, my taste buds were terribly miserable. Honesty, for a while I disdained vegetables and refused to come near one with a pole-long fork. The thought of eating another bland and basic salad turned my stomach. As a result, I started searching for delectable ways to enjoy vegetables and I found 3 easy solutions to share with you. Even if refuse to come near a vegetable with a pole-long fork, do not be in despair, here are your quick solutions.
- BLEND IT: Confession: I abhor, A-B-H-O-R raw baby spinach. The texture and flavor of this particular vegetable is all wrong in my opinion. As much as my stomach turns when I consume baby spinach in its organic form spinach deserves some recognition. It contains a decent amount of iron as well as calcium which are two minerals important for women’s health. For this reason, I’ve started blending baby spinach. Investing in a blender is the best decision I ever made to help me consume more of this vegetable. I’ve scrupulously become hooked on banana, spinach, and avocado smoothies. The banana thoroughly masks the taste of the spinach while the avocado gives it a nice creamy texture.
- MAKE IT FUN: Who is not a fan of pizza or casserole dishes? These foods have two main ingredients which keep us coming back for more: salt and fat. In moderation salt and fat are important for the body. Knowing that we gravitate towards these foods making a conscious decision to add a vegetable or two to these dishes is a heart healthy to increase your vegetable intake. For example, bell peppers, red onions, cauliflower, artichokes, and olives pair well with pizza, while carrots, broccoli, green beans, and peas compliment casserole dishes.
- HIDE IT: I’ll be the first to admit that I have a sweet tooth. Oh, wait…you (may) have one too! You’re my new BFF! Sugar gives us energy and is the preferred source of energy for the brain. Consuming too much sugar; however, can predispose someone to metabolic disease which can affect the heart. When sugar is paired with high fiber foods, such as vegetables, the rate at which our blood sugar climbs is better controlled. For this reason, remember to throw in a few extra carrots while making a homemade carrot cake or add beetroots in your red-velvet brownie mix. This way, you can have your vegetables and enjoy them too.
American Heart Association. (n.d.). Facts About Heart Disease in Women - Go Red For Women. Retrieved April 19, 2018, from https://www.goredforwomen.org/fight-heart-disease-women-go-red-women-official-site/about-heart-disease-in-women/facts-about-heart-disease/
Kim Francis is a spunky woman that has a passion for nutrition. She is currently an inpatient clinical dietitian in an acute care hospital in south central Florida. She has also experience as an outpatient dietitian, renal dietitian, and a long-term care consulting dietitian. As a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, Kim provides nutrition consultations to hundreds of clients.
Some of her areas of expertise include, but are not limited to: weight gain and weight loss, pre-diabetes, diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension. With over 6 years experience, Kim is passionate and dedicated to all her clients. She desires to "make nutrition easy" by equipping her clients with the skills and knowledge they need to manage their health.