The current USDA MyPlate recommendation is to make half your plate fruits and veggies. When you look at your plate, do you get plenty of vegetables?
Seasonal vegetables will be the best prices and best quality. Bell peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, green beans, okra, onions, potatoes, summer squash, sweet corn, and tomatoes are in season. Stock up on those veggies and add them to your recipes for fresh taste and many nutrients.
The amount of vegetables needed in one day varies by age and gender. In general, guidelines for daily vegetable intake are:
2-3 year olds – 1 cup
4-8 year olds – 1 ½ cups
Girls 9-13 years old – 2 cups
Girls 14-18 years old – 2 ½ cups
Boys 9-13 years old – 2 ½ cups
Boys 14-18 years old – 3 cups
Women 19-50 years old – 2 ½ cups
Women 51+ - 2 cups
Men 19-50 years old – 3 cups
Men 51+ - 2 ½ cups
These are general guidelines; those who are more physically active may need more than this amount. One cup of cooked, raw, or vegetable juice will count as one cup from this group. The only difference is that you need 2 cups of raw, leafy greens to count as one cup of vegetables.
Here are some tips to help you get more vegetables at breakfast, snacks, lunch, or dinner:
Make a veggie omelet or frittata made with veggies for breakfast
Enjoy a breakfast pizza with lots of seasonal veggies
Eat some of last night’s leftovers and add some raw veggies
Snack on raw veggies with homemade Greek yogurt Ranch dip
Load up your crockpot with your choice of veggies and meat
Spray veggies with olive oil and parmesan cheese and roast in the oven or grill outdoors
Keep leafy greens and other veggies you like to make a quick salad for any meal
Add veggies to pasta sauces, meatloaf, casseroles, lasagna, or rice dishes
Add shredded carrots, lentils, beans, or onions to your meat to stretch it further
Choose a vegetable as your side dish instead of a starch
Add more beans to your recipes
If you have questions or ideas for future articles, please contact Melissa Bess, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist with University of Missouri Extension. Call the Camden County Extension Center at 573-346-2644 or email Melissa at email@example.com.
Page 2 of 2 - Melissa Bess is a health specialist with the University of Missouri Extension. She is also the author of a health and wellness blog on www.LakeNewsOnline.com.