Please forgive me for my miniature whine fest today...
I MISS MY GARDEN!!!
I loved just stepping outside and picking tons of fresh veggies for meals and snacks. I tried desperately to keep growing tomatoes, lettuce and herbs in my house this winter. I have gotten a few tomatoes, herbs and some lettuce, but it doesn't come close to the abundance of a garden.
Even though we aren't blessed with the luxury of a year round vegetable garden, I still want to remind everyone that veggies are just as important all...winter....long.
Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, fiber, folic acid, vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin E and vitamin C.
Why is potassium good? It helps maintain healthy blood pressure.
Why is fiber good? Fiber from vegetables helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower the risk of heart disease.
Why is Vitamin A good? Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps protect against infections.
Why is Vitamin E good? Vitamin E helps protect Vitamin A and essential fatty acids from cell oxidation.
Why is Vitamin C good? Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C also helps you absorb iron.
If you eat a diet rich in vegetables, you may:
• Reduce your risk for stroke and perhaps other heart diseases, as well as type 2 diabetes.
• Protect yourself against certain cancers, such as mouth, stomach, and colorectal cancers.
• Reduce your risk of developing kidney stones and osteoporosis.
• Keep your weight under control. Eating foods such as vegetables that are low in calories instead of higher-calorie food helps you lower your calorie intake.
Here is how to sneak more veggies into your diet.
1. Season your foods with chopped garlic or onion.
2. Eat a salad every day. (with spinach or dark leafy greens, not iceberg lettuce)
3. Try a new vegetable every week. You will find many new veggies you love!
4. Add extra veggies to soups and stews.
5. Prepare veggie platters to take to parties.
6. Snack on fresh veggies. In winter, you will want to opt for more frozen veggies, since they are frozen at the peak of their freshness.
7. Grill vegetable kabobs as part of a barbecue meal. Try tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions.
8. Add color to salads by adding baby carrots, shredded red cabbage, or cucumbers.
9. Try a healthy dressing with raw broccoli, red and green peppers, celery sticks or cauliflower. I like mixing Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Balsamic Vinegar and herbs for a yummy dressing.
Enjoy the beautiful colors, scents and tastes of veggies. And don't they make you feel sooooo good?
To Your Health!