Have you noticed that outside the trees are beginning to bloom and the flowers are starting to come up? It’s also time to start getting excited about the fresh fruits and veggies that will be available soon. It makes this time of the year the best time for cleaning up your diet. Including more fruits and veggies in your diet is an easy way to begin! Often the menu in the winter months is filled with more comfort foods, starchy casseroles, or meals that have the same vegetables used because, let’s face it, there just isn’t as much variety in the winter.
What does adding vegetables to the diet do for you? First, they provide a variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients! You can easily go through an entire day gaining minimal benefit from our foods if you choose processed, carbohydrate-driven options. The color of our vegetables can be a great indicator as to what nutrients they contain. For example, orange peppers, carrots, and sweet potatoes contain beta carotene, the precursor to vitamin A.
Second, vegetables contain a good amount of fiber. Increased fiber comes with a number of benefits. Fiber helps you feel fuller for longer. Since fiber slows digestion, it takes you longer to feel the hunger pangs. It also improves stool formation and, therefore, elimination. Remember, it’s always important to drink lots of water, especially when there is a lot of fiber in the diet. Some of the more fibrous vegetables include artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and spinach.
Third, adding vegetables to your plate usually means there’s going to be less of something else. As vegetables become a bigger staple on the menu, most frequently the starchy foods lessen. Before you know it, there’s only room for a protein source and veggies. Combining different vegetables to make bigger dishes can be helpful. Here’s an example of a nutrient-dense, fiber-rich, vegetable dish that can be served with fish or chicken. Nothing else needed!
We are blessed to have excellent farms throughout the Virginia Beach and Chesapeake areas. You can choose to visit individual farms, especially in the Pungo area just down the road! Or you can check out the Old Beach Farmer’s Market at the ocean front every Saturday from May through October and monthly in the off season. Start making your list for each Saturday based on the growing chart below!
For more information on reasons why we should clean up the diet, check out Dr. Amanda’s class Spring Clean in Your Body in just 10-days! Click here to sign up today!