Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Eat More Vegetables!

Wow! Sorry, I skipped a whole week of posts! I plan to be back more consistently, though I'll need a plan of action in a few weeks when school is out.

I'm taking the easy way today and angling off a great column in today's NYT by Tara Parker-Pope, "Getting the Most Out of Vegetables." My take-away message is that the best way to get more out of vegetables is to eat them (!) and to eat more of them. In other words, it matters less how you prepare vegetables, just as long as everyone likes them enough to actually eat them at the table. Sometimes I serve our veggies totally plain, and since they tend to be fresh and organic, they do get eaten. But when I add a little butter, salt, or maybe Parmesan cheese, the vegetables do tend to get snapped up even faster. Last week. my hand tipped a bit too much when I was salting green beans and I added way more salt than I meant too. The result: the kids and my husband said they were the best green beans ever! (I'm not recommending overdosing on salt, but it's a little lesson in trade-offs.)

Butter isn't so bad either. One interesting note at the end of the article referred to a study done at Ohio State. It found that adding a little fat to the veggies actually helped you absorb more nutrients from them. And of course, another study with teenagers found that taste trumped all in terms of eating vegetables.

Another "trick" I read about in Real Food: to encourage your family to eat more vegetables, put more than one out on the table. So have a cooked vegetable and a salad, or raw veggies. Or you can add fruit as an actual course or side dish. Plus this adds variety to the table and to the foods you introduce to your family. Have one "stand-by" vegetable, say frozen peas, and try our a new one, say collard greens or cabbage, as a second.

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