# 3 - EXPANDING "SCD" > * WHAT VEGETABLES CAN DO FOR YOU


People who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Vegetables provide nutrients vital for maintaining a healthy body.

Health Benefits

  • Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk for stroke and heart disease.
  • Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes.
  • Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may protect against certain cancers, such as mouth, stomach, and colorectal cancer.
  • Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, may reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Eating fruits and vegetables rich in potassium may reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and may help to decrease bone loss.
  • Eating foods such as vegetables that are low in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake.

Nutrients

  • Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. None have cholesterol. (Sauces or seasonings may add fat, calories, or cholesterol.)
  • Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
  • Diets rich in potassium may help maintain healthy blood pressure. Potassium-rich vegetables include white beans, tomatoes, beet greens, lima beans, winter squash, spinach, lentils, and split peas.
  • Dietary fiber from vegetables helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods such as vegetables help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.
  • Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant and those in the first trimester of pregnancy should be sure to get adequate folate, including folic acid supplements. This reduces the risk of birth defects known as neural tube defects, including spina bifida and anencephaly.
  • Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.
  • Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C aids in iron absorption

How many vegetables do I need?

You should choose a variety of vegetables. It is not necessary to eat each type of vegetable daily. However, over a week, try to eat the amounts listed from each group as a way to reach your daily recommended amount.

The amount of vegetables you need to eat depends on your age, sex, and level of activity.

Daily recommendation*

Children

2-3 years old
4-8 years old

1 cup**
1 1/2 cups**

Girls

9-13 years old
14-18 years old

2 cups **
2 1/2 cups **

Boys

9-13 years old
14-18 years old

2 1/2 cups**
3 cups**

Women

19-30 years old
31-50 years old
51+ years old

2 1/2 cups**
2 1/2 cups**
2 cups**

Men

19-30 years old
31-50 years old
51+ years old

3 cups**
3 cups**
2 1/2 cups**

*These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity, beyond normal daily activities. Those who are more physically active may be able to consume more while staying within calorie needs. 

 

Dark Green Vegetables

Orange Vegetables

Dry Beans and Peas

Starchy Vegetables

Other Vegetables

Amount Per Week*

Children
2-3 years old
4-8 years old

1 cup
1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup
1 cup

1/2 cup
1 cup

1 1/2 cups
2 1/2 cups

4 cups
4 1/2 cups

Girls
9-13 years old
14-18 years old

2 cups
3 cups

1 1/2 cups
2 cups

2 1/2 cups
3 cups

2 1/2 cups
3 cups

5 1/2 cups
6 1/2 cups

Boys
9-13 years old
14-18 years old

3 cups
3 cups

2 cups
2 cups

3 cups
3 cups

3 cups
6 cups

6 1/2 cups
7 cups

Women
19-30 years old
31-50 years old
51+ years old

3 cups
3 cups
2 cups

2 cups
2 cups
1 1/2 cups

3 cups
3 cups
2 1/2 cups

3 cups
3 cups
2 1/2 cups

6 1/2 cups
6 1/2 cups
5 1/2 cups

Men
19-30 years old
31-50 years old
51+ years old

3 cups
3 cups
3 cups

2 cups
2 cups
2 cups

3 cups
3 cups
3 cups

6 cups
6 cups
3 cups

7 cups
7 cups
6 1/2 cups

What counts as a cup of vegetables?

In general, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens can be considered 1 cup from the vegetable group.

Tips for Buying and Preparing Vegetables

Getting enough vegetables in your diet may seem overwhelming. But a few simple tricks can help you enjoy nutrient-packed, delicious vegetables from day to day.

Below are tips on buying, preparing, and making vegetables more appealing to children.

Quick Tips for Buying, Preparing Vegetables

  • Buy fresh vegetables in season. They cost less and are likely to be at their peak flavor.
  • Stock up on frozen vegetables for quick and easy cooking on top of the stove.
  • Buy vegetables that are easy to prepare. Pick up pre-washed bags of salad greens and add baby carrots or grape tomatoes for a salad in minutes. Packages of baby carrots or celery sticks make quick snacks.
  • Use a microwave to only "warm" vegetables.
  • Vary your veggie choices to keep meals interesting.
  • Try crunchy vegetables, raw or lightly steamed.

Picking the Best Vegetables

  • Select vegetables with more potassium, such as white beans, tomatoes, beet greens, lima beans, winter squash, spinach, lentils, and split peas.
  • Sauces or seasonings can add calories, fat, and sodium to vegetables.
  • Prepare more foods from fresh ingredients to lower sodium intake. Most sodium in the food supply comes from packaged or processed foods.
  • Buy frozen or fresh vegetables to avoid added sugars and salt typically added to canned foods. An addition does not have to be listed on the label if it’s less than 2% of total volume.

Packing Vegetables Into Meals

  • Plan some meals around a vegetable main dish, such as a vegetable stir-fry or soup. Then add other foods to complement it.
  • Try a main dish salad for lunch. Use a healthy homemade salad dressing.
  • Include a green salad with your dinner every night.
  • Shred carrots or zucchini into meatloaf, casseroles, quick almond flour breads, and muffins.
  • Make an almond flour crust veggie pizza with toppings like mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, and additional veggies.
  • Use pureed, cooked vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, or carrots to thicken stews, soups, and gravies. These add flavor, nutrients, and texture.
  • Grill vegetable kabobs as part of a barbecue meal. Try tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions.

Pump-Up Vegetables

  • Many vegetables taste great with a dip or dressing. Try a homemade yogurt cheese salad dressing with raw broccoli, red and green peppers, celery sticks, or cauliflower.
  • Add color to salads by adding baby carrots, shredded red cabbage, or spinach leaves. Include in-season vegetables for variety through the year.
  • Include cooked dry beans or peas in flavorful mixed dishes, such as chili or minestrone soup.
  • Decorate plates or serving dishes with vegetable slices.
  • Keep a bowl of cut-up vegetables in a see-through container in the refrigerator. Carrot and celery sticks are traditional, but consider broccoli florets, cucumber slices, or red or green pepper strips.

Turning Children Into Veggie Lovers:

  • Set a good example for children by eating vegetables with meals and as snacks.
  • Let children decide on the dinner vegetables or what goes into salads.
  • Depending on their age, children can help shop for, clean, peel, or cut up vegetables.
  • Allow children to pick a new vegetable to try while shopping.
  • Use cut-up vegetables as part of afternoon snacks.
  • Children often prefer foods served separately. Rather than mixed vegetables, try serving two vegetables separately.

Avoid a Vegetable Snafu

  • Wash vegetables before preparing or eating them. Under clean, running water, rub vegetables briskly with your hands to remove dirt and surface microorganisms. Dry after washing.
  • Keep vegetables separate from raw meat, poultry, and seafood while shopping, preparing, or storing.

 

SCD adapted from:  www.webmd.com

 

Kay's Note:  Vegetables and fruits should be pealed, deseeded and cooked soft at the first of the SCD until digestion is improved and diarrhea is nearly gone.