In the last few days we talked about the portions of your meats, grains and fruits, when we reduce the portions of these, it is important to increase the portion of vegetables. Vegetables naturally have fibre, which helps slows digestion and also many protective nutrients. Prophet (PBUH), use to like vegetables – especially mushrooms, pumpkin or squash. It is narrated in “Kanzul Ubaad” that the angles visit the tablecloth which has vegetables on it.
How much? Aim for 3 to 5 servings of non-starchy vegetables a day. 1 serving is ½ a cup of cooked vegetables or 1 cup of raw vegetables. It is also recommended to get 1 green (leafy) and 1 orange every day because each colour gives a unique nutrient to our body’s functions and help in preventing certain diseases.
Eating more vegetables can lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of developing hypertension. Vegetables from the cruciferous and allium class of vegetables are shown to protect against cancers of the mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus and stomach.
- Cruciferous vegetables: cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, arugula, Brussels sprouts, Bok choy
- Allium vegetables: garlic, onions, shallots, leek, chives, scallions
Are all vegetables healthy?
When we talk about vegetables, we are talking about non-starchy ones. There are some vegetables that are starchy, or fatty.
- Starchy Vegetables are potatoes, corn, peas, pumpkins, parsnips, squash, yams and sweet potatoes. Although these are also good for you, do not count them towards your daily vegetable servings. Because they have a lot of starchy these should be portioned with the grains in your diet.
- Fatty Vegetables include avocado and olives –these contain a lot of fat (healthy fat) so the amount should be limited and be counted towards your fat intake and not vegetables.
Ways to get more:
- Substitute some spinach, onions, or mushrooms for one of the eggs or half of the cheese in your morning omelet. The vegetables will add volume and flavor to the dish with fewer calories than the egg or cheese.
- Substitute vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, or onions for 2 ounces of the cheese and 2 ounces of the meat in your sandwich, wrap, or burrito. The new version will fill you up with fewer calories than the original.
- Add a cup of chopped vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, beans, or red peppers, in place of 2 ounces of the meat or 1 cup of noodles in your favorite broth-based soup. The vegetables will help fill you up, so you won’t miss those extra calories.
- Add in 1 cup of chopped vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, squash, onions, or peppers, while removing 1 cup of the rice or pasta in your favorite dish. The dish with the vegetables will be just as satisfying but have fewer calories than the same amount of the original version.
- Take a good look at your dinner plate. Vegetables, fruit, and whole grains should take up the largest portion of your plate. If they do not, replace some of the meat, cheese, white pasta, or rice with legumes, steamed broccoli, asparagus, greens, or another favorite vegetable. This will reduce the total calories in your meal without reducing the amount of food you eat.