Here are some ways to give nutritious and low-fat veggies the attention they deserve.
Vegetables that are in season are easier to get, have more flavor and usually cost less. Your local farmers market can be a great resource for seasonal produce. Select vegetables that are rich in color and aren’t bruised or damaged. Frozen vegetables keep longer and can be an easy addition to meals, especially ones that steam quickly in the microwave.
Wash produce and keep veggies bacteria-free. Run vegetables under water and gently rub them before peeling, slicing or eating. Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel. Refrigerate perishable vegetables at 40 degrees F or below.
Get creative! Here are five tips for making veggies convenient and interesting:
1. Baby carrots and celery sticks are easy grab-and-go snacks. Store them in see-through containers in the refrigerator. Jazz them up with a low-fat salad dressing. Kids may enjoy making “ants on a log” with peanut butter and raisins on a celery stick.
2. Sneak chopped vegetables into favorite foods such as pasta sauce or lasagna. Blend spinach into a fruit smoothie. Shred carrots or zucchini into muffins, quick breads or meatloaf.
3. Use cooked, pureed vegetables in soups and to thicken stews.
4. Grill fired up? Make vegetable kabobs with tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers and onions.
5. Grow your own. Have fun growing and eating your own vegetables. Tomatoes and peppers are good options for beginning gardeners.
Want more great ideas for vegging out? Visit choosemyplate.gov.