Why do we need to eat vegetables?
- Vegetables are an important source of nutrients including potassium, folate (folic acid), dietary fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C.
- Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables may protect against certain types of cancers.
- Eating a diet of filled with fruits and vegetables can decrease your risk of heart disease including heart attack and stroke.
- Diets rich in fiber can decrease your risk of Type 2 Diabetes and stroke.
- Eating vegetables high in potassium can decrease your blood pressure, reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help decrease bone loss.
- Eating vegetables that are low in calories per cup can help lower calorie intake (instead of eating higher calorie foods).
How much vegetables do my children and I need to eat?
|Daily Vegetable Table|
|Children||2-3 years old||1 cup|
|4-8 years old||1 ½ cups|
|Girls||9-13 years old||2 cups|
|14-18 years old||2 ½ cups|
|Boys||9-13 years old||2 ½ cups|
|14-18 years old||3 cups|
|Women||19-30 years old||2 ½ cups|
|31-50 years old||2 ½ cups|
|51+ years old||2 cups|
|Men||19-30 years old||3 cups|
|31-50 years old||3 cups|
|51+ years old||2 ½ cups|
So what counts as a serving of vegetables? 1 cup of raw/cooked vegetables, 1 cup of vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens.
|Amount that counts as 1 cup of vegetable||Amount that counts as 1/2 cup of vegetables|
|Dark Green Vegetables||Broccoli||1 cup, chopped or florets3 spears 5″ long raw or cooked|
|Greens (collards, mustard greens, turnip greens, kale)||1 cup, cooked|
|Spinach||1 cup, cooked2 cups, raw||1 cup, raw|
|Raw leafy greens: Spinach, romaine, watercress, dark green leafy lettuce, endive, escarole||2 cups, raw||1 cup, raw|
|Red and Orange Vegetables||Carrots||1 cup, strips, slices, or chopped, raw or cooked|
1 cup baby carrots (about 12)
|1 medium carrot|
About 6 baby carrots
|Pumpkin||1 cup, mashed, cooked|
|Red peppers||1 cup, chopped, raw, or cooked|
1 large pepper (3″ diameter, 3 3/4″ long)
|1 small pepper|
|Tomatoes||1 large raw whole (3″)|
1 cup, chopped or sliced, raw, canned, or cooked
|1 small raw whole (2 1/4″ diameter)|
1 medium canned
|Tomato juice||1 cup||½ cup|
|Sweet potato||1 large baked (2 ¼” or more diameter)|
1 cup, sliced or mashed, cooked
|Winter squash (acorn, butternut, hubbard)||1 cup, cubed, cooked||½ acorn squash, baked = ¾ cup|
|Beans and Peas||Dry beans and peas (such as black, garbanzo, kidney, pinto, or soy beans, or black-eyed peas or split peas)||1 cup, whole or mashed, cooked|
|Starchy Vegetables||Corn, yellow or white||1 cup|
1 large ear (8″ to 9″ long)
1 small ear (about 6″ long)
|Green peas||1 cup|
|White potatoes||1 cup, diced, mashed|
1 medium boiled or baked potato (2 ½” to 3″ diameter)
|Other Vegetables||Bean sprouts||1 cup, cooked|
|Cabbage, green||1 cup, chopped or shredded raw or cooked|
|Cauliflower||1 cup, pieces or florets raw or cooked|
|Celery||1 cup, diced or sliced, raw or cooked|
2 large stalks (11″ to 12″ long)
1 large stalk (11″ to 12″ long)
|Cucumbers||1 cup, raw, sliced or chopped|
|Green or wax beans||1 cup, cooked|
|Green peppers||1 cup, chopped, raw or cooked|
1 large pepper (3″ diameter, 3 ¾” long)
1 small pepper
|Lettuce, iceberg or head||2 cups, raw, shredded or chopped||1 cup, raw, shredded or chopped|
|Mushrooms||1 cup, raw or cooked|
|Onions||1 cup, chopped, raw or cooked|
|Summer squash or zucchini||1 cup, cooked, sliced or diced|
How do I get my kids to eat their veggies?
- Set a good example by eating vegetables for meals and snacks
- Let children decide which vegetables to have for dinner or which ones go into the salad
- Depending on age, children can shop, cook, chop, or peel vegetables
- Allow children to pick out a new vegetable while grocery shopping to try
- Use cut up vegetables as an after school snack
- Serve vegetables individually as rather than (2+) mixed vegetables
All information from https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month and https://www.choosemyplate.gov/