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Eating More Vegetables

by Original content by Julian Carpenter, Independence County | adapted for blog by Torrie Smith, Carroll County

Are you looking for a way to be healthier this year without making extreme and complicated resolutions? I have just the suggestion for you. Eat more fruits and vegetables! The CDC reports only 1 in 10 American adults are eating enough fruits and vegetables. Only 10% of us!

Why should we eat more veggies?

You may wonder why it’s so important to eat more fruits and vegetables. These colorful foods can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, some cancers and even obesity. And if that’s not enough of a reason, you might like that they can be tasty and easy to prepare.

Eating the rainbow

The best rule of thumb is to eat the rainbow, meaning to make the foods you eat as colorful as possible. Fruits and vegetables come in all shapes and colors including red, yellow, orange, white and purple. A rainbow of colors means you are consuming different vitamins and minerals which are an important part of our diet.  MyPlate recommends making half your plate fruits and vegetables, or more specifically, aim to eat 5 total cups per day.

It is typically not too challenging to consume enough fruits because they are naturally sweet and tasty but eating more vegetables can seem a little more daunting. Below is a simple recipe for brussels sprouts from our Mediterranean Diet curriculum. Even if you think you don’t like brussels sprouts, consider giving these a try because they are delicious. The key is making sure they are shredded or thinly sliced.

1½ lbs. Brussels sprouts, trimmed

3 Tablespoons olive oil, extra-virgin

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a food processor fitted with the slicing blade, coarsely shred the Brussels sprouts.  On a half-sheet pan, toss the Brussels sprouts with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and spread in an even layer.
  2. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, until the Brussels sprouts are tender and browned in spots; rotate the pans and stir the Brussels sprouts halfway through the roasting.
  3. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, toss and bake for 1 more minute or until the cheese is melted.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and serve. The Brussels sprouts can be baked up to 2 hours ahead; rewarm them before serving.
Serving Size one sixth recipe, 130 calories, 8g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 300mg sodium, 11g total carb, 4g fiber, 3g sugars, 5g protein, less than 5mg cholesterol  

For more information, contact your local Family and Consumer Sciences Agent at your County Extension Office.

Mediterranean Diet curriculum