Inspiring you to make healthy food and choices one step at a time

March 22, 2010

Basic #1 - Veggies, Veggies, and More Veggies

Basic #1 is about veggies. Have I lost anyone yet? I have to say that the veggies we grew up on are not the same ones as today and I'm not talking about nutritive value (although that's true) but I'm talking about the variety. We have so much to choose from that there shouldn't be any boredom in our eating plans. But there is and, I understand, because I get stuck buying the same things, myself.

Are there more nutritious vegetables than others? Yes, but all kinds need to be eaten. The more variety you have, the more phytonutrients are available to you.  Since we are talking about nutrient dense food, I'll take you to the Eat for Health books by Dr. Joel Fuhrman that give a list of nutrient dense vegetables. 

Leafy Green Vegetables
romaine lettuce, leaf lettuces, kale, collards, Swiss chard, cabbage, spinach, bok choy, parsley

Solid Green Vegetables
artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumber, kohlrabi, okra, peas, green peppers, snow peas, string beans, zucchini

Non-Green, High-Nutrient Vegetables
beets, eggplant, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, peppers, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, cauliflower, squash, carrots

The ones highlighted in blue are also classified as superfoods in his book Superfoods Rx by Dr. Steven Pratt, along with these: 

Orange bell peppers, mustard and turnip greens, pumpkin, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes. (I know some are scientifically classified as fruits but for sake of ease, we'll leave them here.)

Organic? Fresh? Frozen? There are so many choices and the answer is what you can. Yes, organic is great but it's better to buy vegetables, period. Whatever you can afford. This is what we buy from a local produce stand about every 10 days or so. 

We also shop the grocer (frozen veggies) and health food store for good buys on organic. If they are within a few dimes of what I would normally pay, I'll get it; if not, I stay with our produce stand. It's the habit of eating vegetables that is most important. That's all it is...a habit.

Okay, we have the list now, how do we cook them? Eat as many raw as you can, but you'll actually eat more if you cook some too.  Cook as short a time as possible. There is a favorite out there of roasting veggies. This is my favorite! But these long cooking times are not good for the nutrients or enzymes.

Roast your veggies (cut up), plain, in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, that's all. Then as soon as they come out, pour some extra virgin olive oil and kosher or sea salt over them while warm and it is yummy, buttery goodness. More about that here

Salads, Dips, and Smoothies are also great ways to get lots of raw veggies (and fruits) in our bodies. Another superb way to get veggies? Soups. This could be the easiest way to increase your intake as a family. We have 3 course meals sometimes to emphasize our veggies (don't tell my family). First, we'll have salad, second (after we taken time to eat our salads), we'll have our soup and when we are done with that, we'll have our main meal. We will have plenty of soup and salad in their tummies even before the main meal hits the table. 

Need a good soup recipe? Here you go...

Minestrone Superfoods Soup
adapted from Todd Wilbur

Serves 8
Saute together about 5 minutes
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. white onion
1/2 c. chopped zucchini
1/2 c. frozen Italian cut green beans
1/4 c. minced celery (4 cloves)

7 c. vegetable broth (easy one here)
2 (15 oz.) cans red kidney beans, drained
2 (15 oz.) cans white beans (cannellini)
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1/2 c. carrots, julienned
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 - 3/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
3/4 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme

Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

4 c. fresh baby spinach leaves, cut up

Cook for additional 20 minutes or until desired consistency. (I adjusted the spices and left out the pasta so feel free to make it your own. The good thing is soup is so flexible.)

So basically, this takes

15 minutes to prepare,
Cook 20 minutes;
Throw in the spinach
Cook 20-30 minutes longer

That's all, and you have a delicious nutrient dense soup. Did you happen to see all the superfoods?

It's really all in a mindset of eating what's best for you. I look at that meal and see 15 minutes work time; the rest is cooking time. If you're tight on time start it or even cook it the night before, or on the weekend and freeze.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with the task at hand? I'll give you my secret...

"Share your plans with the Lord and you shall succeed."
Proverbs 16:3 (CEV)


Amy said...

This is awesome! Gonna Tweet it!
I love the roasting plan, I do alot of steaming and forget about roasting but you are right, roasting brings out such great flavor!!
So excited about the soup recipe. I make my hubs homemade soup every week, and he just asked for one with beans in it, so I will be making this very soon! Do you think it will freeze ok?
Looking forward to more posts..

SnoWhite said...

That looks wonderful!

Jen@balancing Beautyand Bedlam said...

Oh this so makes me want to get my garden growing. Thanks for sharing with Tasty Tuesday.

Laurie said...

Yes, Amy, it'll freeze well. This will be a nice change for your hubby. Play around with the spices to flavor it as you like.

SnoWhite, thank you, it is delicious!

Aubree Cherie @ Living Free said...

I've come over to your blog for the first time from Tasty Tuesday and I love it! This soup looks so tasty and I definitely need to incorporate better nutrients into my diet...

~Aubree Cherie

Melinda said...

After the long hard winter we've had - I'm craving fresh veggies from the garden. Nothing tastes as good!

Anonymous said...

OMG! That soup looks so good. Oh, how a good bowl warms the heart!

Christine said...

This looks fantastic! And I'm all about superfoods! The freezing idea is fabulous...I'll have to try it.

rene said...

Thank you for this recipe it looks wonderful!

MrsJenB said...

Looks wonderful - and soups are such a great way of getting tons of veggies into our diet!

Julie said...

These veggies look so wonderful! I can't wait till garden season.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

DoanLegacy said...

Thanks for sharing the recipe, I will give it a try, and thanks for visiting Blessing Reflections.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Laurie, today's post was really helpful. I especially like the ease with which your minestrone comes together. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

DoanLegacy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gfe--gluten free easily said...

Great post and wonderful, nourishing soup! Only one problem with all the veggies I buy and eat ... I don't have enough room in my refrigerator. I'm a bit sad that it's getting warm because that means I can't use my porch as an extra refrigerator any more. ;-) As I tweeted last night, someone needs to do a giveaway for a restaurant-size refrigerator!


Madhura Manoj said...

hmm yummy...

Thistlemoon said...

What a great post - all those delicious veggies - so versatile! :)

Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll!

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Essay Writing said...

Find irresistible this one... Vegetables are really good for health...

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