I’m not a big vegetable fan but I’ve come to realize that I need more vegies in my diet. So I figure if I have to choke down some vegies I might as well eat the ones that give you the most bang for your buck. So which ones are they?
Unfortunately for you if you don’t like vegetables - lots of different ones, because they all have different but important things.
There’s also billions of other health-giving/cancer-fighting etc things in vegetables that they’re still discovering. Such as lycopene in tomatoes.
How you cook them will also make a different to their nutritional content.
The best vegetables are…
… the ones you will eat.
Seriously - they do you no good unless you eat them.
Potatoes are usually liked by everyone, although eating them deep fried (french fries, etc.) or with lots of sour cream and/or butter and/or cheese may cause corpulent side effects. And they’re good for you.
Are there any you have any liking for at all? Are you willing to at least try a new one every two or three weeks? Is it the way they’re cooked that turns you off? Or you’re just not in the habit of eating them?
If you don’t like vegees you might try adding fruit, which has many of the same benefits and some people like better.
It is also important to concider the quality of the veggies that you eat. Try to buy organic from a local veg shop and avoid those bland objects often found on supermarket shelves. Good quality frozen veg are almost as good as fresh ones.
Don’t forget nuts, walnuts, brazils and almonds are particularly good for you. Fruit too, lots of fruit
When I am choosing fresh vegetables and fruits, I buy local produce whenever possible. Veggies lose nutrients when they sit in storage or spend a lot of time in transport. Often times, you are better off, both nutritionally and tastewise, going with a frozen product if the alternative has been shipped from halfway around the world. Living in the northeastern US, my oranges and bananas have to come from elsewhere. But corn I eat fresh in season and frozen the rest of the year.
You can also choose by color. Darker varieties tend to have more nutrients than paler ones. For instance, dark green lettuce is better for you than iceberg. The same goes for orange veggies; darker is better.
Your cooking method will make a difference, too. When you boil veggies, many of the vitamins are lost in the water. Steaming or sauteing will keep the good stuff in your dinner.
I think your dislike of veggies may have something to do with the way they have been prepared for you. I have a friend who never liked broccoli* until he had it at my place where I sprinkle a little Lawry’s Seasoning Salt on it. Ditto with string beans (sprinkly some finely grated parmesan on them). Admittedly, salt & cheese may not be the healthiest things to add to veggies but as long as you don’t go overboard, it’s better than not eating any veggies at all. Also, don’t cook them until they’re mushy.
A few more suggestions:
Don’t like beets? Try Harvard glazed beets.
Are carrots icky? Whip up an easy white sauce to pour over them. (Add some pepper to that recipe!)
Broccoli turn you off? Chop it up & bake it in with some scalloped potatoes. Or squeeze a lemon wedge over some broccoli & add a dash of pepper.
I’m sure others will chime in with ways to brighten up some otherwise drab veggies.
[sub]*And not because he can’t read or dress himself.[/sub]
If you’re looking for a list you might glance at the one put out by M. A. Stevens and U. C. Davis. It would be nutritionally more efficient to eat broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, lima beans, peas, asparagus, artichokes, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, carrots, sweet corn, potatoes or cabbage (the first fifteen in nutrient concentration in Steven’s study, in decending order).
If you’re like most Americans (and this reflects Broomstick’s post) your nutritional contributors are tomatos, oranges, potatoes, lettuce, sweet corn, bananas, carrots, cabbage, onions, sweet potatoes, peas, spinach, broccoli, lima beans, asparagus and cauliflower.
Some thoughts on fresh vs. frozen:
Fresh is generally tastier/more nutritious than frozen.
But a vegetable that is picked and frozen at the peak of ripeness may well be more nutritious and taste better than some tired old thing that’s been in shipment for weeks.
There is also the convenience factor and the cost factor. It is easy to keep frozen veggies on hand, and frozen is often cheaper than fresh. Frozen can really work out to be cheaper than fresh if you tend to let things go bad in your fridge. Frozen veggies are also usually pre-cleaned and trimmed, so they can be easier to use if you don’t like to cook.
So, my advice would be to use fresh when you can, but don’t be afraid to use frozen also. They’re both good.
Most canned veggies are nutritionally worthless and taste awful. The exception is tomatoes.
Well, here is an easy and fast and yummy way to prepare frozen vegetables:
Buy bags of frozen veggies that are either in small pieces to begin with or cut small. I like a combination of sweet corn and peas. You can also get “mixed veggies” that have corn, peas, carrots, string-beans, etc.
Heat up a frying pan and melt a little butter in it.
Put the frozen veggies in the pan. You don’t have to defrost. One cup of veggies is a good amount for a side dish.
Add some salt and lots of pepper.
Stir the veggies in the pan until they are just hot. They will defrost right in the pan, and if you don’t overcook them, they will taste really good.
The nice thing about preparing the veggies this way is that you don’t have to use much butter at all to get a good butter flavor. Yum!
…wondering how nutritious Green Bean is…
There are also some ultra-highly nutritious things that include avocadoes, kiwi fruits and walnuts.
Masses of calcium in bok choi, alfalfa and sesame seeds.
Another good way to “yum up” your veggies is to steam them over a pot where you’re making some sort of packaged rice mix. (Mahatma, -a-roni, Farmhouse, etc) The veggies pick up the taste of the seasonings and if any nutrients are steamed out of the veggies the get absorbed by the rice. (This differs from boiling in that you aren’t dumping the nutrients down the drain with the boiling water.)
I believe the current thinking on carrots is that they’re better for you cooked, as there’s some specific nutrient in them that the body can’t use in it’s raw state. As a rule, though, raw is most nutritious. (Blech!)
I can’t stand vegetables unfortunately. If it were the fact that they just tasted terrible, I’d just choke them down for my own health. But I have a conditioned response to certain vegetables (Broccoli, Cauliflower, Squash) where if I put a piece of them in my mouth, I gag. Its nearly impossible for me to eat them without coughing them up. This is because of the texture of these vegetables (the flowery stuff on broccoli is REALLY hard for me to handle). Drinks like V8 have vegetable juice in them, and I love the stuff, but the amount of sodium in them worries me.
Incubus, have you thought about making your own vegetable juice? That’s the easiest way to control what’s in it.
Actually, even steaming vegtables can break down certain molecules like Vitamin C.
If you can get used to it (I think you can!) use olive oil to flavor up the veggies instead of butter. Delishamundo.
Thanks for the input guys the reason I asked is becuase the vegetables I do like; greenbeans corn and potatos are basicaly worthless… Well maybe not green beans.
I think I have the same problem as Incubus ; for me its just the texture that makes me want to gag.
You can find sodium-free vegetable juice if you look hard enough, including V8 I believe. Or you could make your own with a blender. It may taste strange at first, but now I can’t stand the taste of salty vegetable juice.
One of the things I did for my husband, who grew up without much nutritous food in his household, was to add vegetables to foods that he already liked. If I was making macaroni and cheese, I’d steam some broccoli over the pasta water, and add it to the pasta. Spinach as well, plus it would be folded into omelettes and scrambled eggs. Peas went into the tuna salad or the fried rice, grated carrot went into the chicken salad, and yummy mashed sweet potatoes replaced white half of the time. We’re now vegetarians.
Remember that depending on what the vegetable is, a full serving can be as little as a half cup, so it doesn’t take a lot to start incorporating them into your diet in an advantageous way.
If you can’t stand them, take vitamine pills.
Do beans count as veggies?
Certainly, one must not overlook the power of the soybean when compiling a “best for you” veggie list.
I find it hard to match the protein per calories ratio of soy. Even some lean meats don’t measure up to the efficiencty of soy.
Since you are not looking for the one and only best, based on the calorie to protien ratio of soy, I would have it on my top 5 list.