The Benefits of Eating Green
Little Red Hen's Healthy Staff program encourages our staff members to make healthy and sustainable choices when it comes to nutrition and diet. Through our Park and Garden location, we offer monthly Healthy Eating classes, such as our recent "Cooking Veggies" class.
Eating your recommended dose of vegetables has a variety of health benefits. Not only are they full of vitamins and minerals but many of them have added health benefits that are good for your eyes and heart. If you are looking to eat clean and green, the best way to do that is to make sure you get your daily dose of vegetables.
This 2017 study found that one 1 in 9 adults doesn't eat their recommended dose of vegetables a day, approximately 2 to 3 cups. A recent healthy eating class showed us how easy it was to cook a variety of veggies and how they can complement any meal. Below are some of the healthiest choices you can make.
- leafy greens
- iron for healthy blood
- One cup of spinach is 7 calories
- This cruciferous vegetable is only 55 calories and
- twice your daily amount of vitamin C
- your full-day supply of Vitamin K
- can also reduce the risk of cancer.
- full of your days' supply of Vitamin A,
- can aid in strong vision and prevent vision loss
- A cup of chopped carrots is only 52 calories
- will cook faster when chopped or diced
When you're ready to cook your veggies, its good to clean them first. Run cold water over the produce and gently scrub them with your hands. Wash leafy greens like lettuce and spinach in a large bowl so the dirt can come out from the. bottom. Then set them on a paper towel to dry for a few minutes.
Root vegetables, like potatoes and carrots, should be cleaned with a vegetable brush and running water. With fresh produce, it is best to not wash until you are ready to use them, prewashing can make them ripen quickly and may lead to wasted food. Vegetables can be cooked in a lot of ways, and the time can depend on the method.
Roast - For cooking in the oven or over a fire
- Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees
- a light coating of olive oil
- turn halfway through cooking time
- cook 5-7 minutes for green beans and potatoes
In a Microwave -
- Broccoli - Cut into florets, cook in an airtight container for 4 minutes
- Brussel Sprouts and Carrots - 1/4 cup of water or broth in a glass bowl; cook 3 minutes
- Corn - Husk and cut into thirds; cover airtight and cook 3 minutes
Steam - (using steam above a plate of boiling water
- Brussel Sprouts - in steam. basket over a pot with 2 inches of water, heat to high steam for 6 to 8 minutes
- Carrots - cut into rounds in a steam basket over 1 inch of water set to high heat and steam for 4 minutes
- Cauliflower - cut into florets, in a steam basket over 2 inches of water cover and set heat to high and steam for 5 minutes
Saute - quickly frying in a little bit of fat
Carrots - cut into rounds, melt one tablespoon of butter in a pan over low heat, add carrots and saute for 4 minutes
Corn - Remove kernels, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan on medium heat, cook and stir constantly for 3 minutes
No matter what method you choose to cook your veggies, getting in your serving of vegetables is healthy and has many nutritional benefits. Tough vegetables like mushrooms, broccoli and cauliflower should be cooked through first, because they will take the longest. Followed closely by semi-tough (green beans, onions, etc) and tender veggies such as shredded carrots. Little Red Hen Healthy Staff encourages all members of Little Red Hen to make healthy and sustainable choices, not only for ourselves but to encourage the community to do so.