Love them or hate them, fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy nutrition plan, says Marla Ahlgrimm. According to retired pharmacist, vegetables are low in fat and calories, contain no cholesterol, and offer the body a host of nutrients.
According to Marla Ahlgrimm, a produce-rich diet will provide the body ample amounts of vitamins a, fiber, folic acid, and vitamin C. Furthermore, eating beans, tomatoes, lima beans, and spinach provides potassium, which can help maintain healthy blood pressure. Dietary fiber, which is most closely associated with proper digestion and bowel function, can also help reduce blood cholesterol levels and, perhaps more importantly, may lower the risk of heart disease.
Vitamins A and C, which are found in most colorful fruits and vegetables, offer protection against infection and may aid in wound-healing, respectively, says Marla Ahlgrimm.
Here are a few tips on how to fit vegetables into your diet without feeling force fed:
As a topping – Fruits, especially, make an excellent topping for everything from oatmeal to pancakes and yogurt to ice cream. Marla Ahlgrimm also enjoys shredded carrots, onions, and leafy greens as a topping for sandwiches. You can also top your favorite pizza with roasted vegetables for an added boost of nutrition.
As a hidden treat – Smoothies are the milkshake of nutrition and can be customized to satisfy any taste. Ahlgrimm explains that a fruit smoothie blended with strawberries and bananas can be supplemented with puréed spinach, carrots, or beets without significantly altering taste and texture.
As a soup filler – Vegetable-based soups are a healthy and delicious way to intake vegetables. A simple base of low-sodium tomato juice mixed with boiled carrots, celery, cabbage, corn, and onions can easily serve as a side or a main meal. Marla Ahlgrimm notes this can be customized to your taste.