In order to have truly healthy recipes of your own, some basic information about food is needed.
Vegetables are roughly divided into five subgroups. Diferent vegetables contain different amounts of nutrients.
Dark green vegetables
(e.g. spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, turnip greens)
(e.g. butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins)
Dry beans and peas
(e.g. kidney beans, lentils, white beans,black beans, tofu, soy beans)
(e.g. corn, potatoes, green peas)
(cucumbers, mushrooms, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, cauliflower, eggplants, cabbage, asparagus, etc.)
None of the vegetables have cholesterol. Most of them are naturally low in fat and calories.
They are important sources of many nutrients and dietary fibers, like potassium, vitamin E, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C, ideal for healthy recipes.
Potassium helps maintain good blood pressure.
Dietary fibers in veggies have various health benefits that are also in whole grains like we mentioned above. It helps weight control, lowers blood cholesterol levels, and reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. It plays a role in preventing or reducing the development of constipation and diverticulosis.
Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. It's important for fetal development.
Vitamin A is an important nutrient for eyes and skin. It helps protect against infections.
Vitamin E helps protect essential fatty acids and vitamin A from cell oxidation.
It's not easy to remember which vegetable has what nutrients. What should we do?
There is a very simple way to maximize the benefits of veggies without the need to remember all the nutrion facts: eat by color.
As long as you eat as many colorful veggies as possible each day, you're on the right direction to having balanced nutrients from every group of vegetables.
But sometimes you need to add some specific nutrients into your diet; here is a simple reference for good food that you can use.
It's great to have so many kinds of fruits; if you don't like one kind, you can have another.
Berries, pears, avocado, oranges, apples, pineapple, papaya, melons, plums, etc., you name it. All of them are nutritious. Their nutrition benefits are similar to those of vegetables.
And you can have them fresh or canned, frozen or dried.
Like vegetables, the nutrions in fruits also vary depending on which kind you eat. It's advisable to include various fruits in your healthy recipes to get balanced nutrients.
You can also have fruit nutrition in their liquid form: fruit juices. If you want to drink healthy, make sure the fruit juice is freshly squeezed and has no added sugar.
There is a draw back on juice though. It leaves out the dietary fibers, which are benefical to your health.
One word on a branch of fruit juice: carbonated fruit juices. They normally have added content and are high in calories. You might want to limit the intake of it if healthy living is your goal.
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