Fruits & Veggies and the Med Way

— Written By

Did your Mama or Grandma ever tell you to eat your fruits and vegetables? If so, these wise women were giving you great advice that has been proven over and over through scientific research. The evidence is clear that fruit and vegetable consumption helps protect against chronic disease and helps protect against overweight and obesity.

To be specific, we should get at least three servings (cups) of vegetables a day. Choose a variety of colors and eat more of the dark, green, leafy vegetables such as collards, kale, spinach and turnip greens. In addition, we should get at least two servings (cups) of fruits each day. And be sure to choose a variety of colors. But as always, check with your physician first.

A recent study looking at the importance of fruits and vegetables with respect to weight found that as fruit and vegetable intake goes up, weight goes down. In addition, foods that were found to be associated with a lower weight were: berries, apples, pears, cruciferous vegetables, green leafy vegetables and all other fruits and non-starchy vegetables. The two vegetables that were not found to be protective against a higher weight were corn and potatoes.

If we know how good fruits and vegetables are for us, why don’t we eat more of them? Some suggest it is their cost, that they are hard to cook or that we don’t like them or like other things better. Let’s address each of these reasons.

Yes, fruits and vegetables can be expensive, but in response to that we can: buy on sale, be flexible enough to purchase less expensive fruits and vegetables, eat what is in season, and eat organically only as your budget allows. The goal is to get more fruits and vegetables on your plate.

Second, there are many fruits and vegetables to choose from and many recipes to use to prepare them. The recipes don’t have to be hard or have lots of ingredients. Certainly keep family favorites in the rotation, but don’t be hesitant to try something new. Some things you can try to help with preparation are: prep your produce in advance to keep on-hand, roast a pan of vegetables to use in recipes throughout the week and keep frozen and canned fruits and veggies in mind as well.

And lastly, as you will see from the Med Instead of Meds website, fruits and vegetables can be super easy to prepare for all tastes! Again, try new things. Add herbs, spices and vinegars for enhanced flavors. And add fruits and veggies to foods you and your family already love.

Try adding veggies to your breakfast to really start the day off right!

Eggs with Vegetable Hash

I am always thinking about new and delicious ways to make one of my favorite foods – eggs. This recipe really punches up the vegetables and is a great breakfast or brunch dish. You can make the vegetable mixture with any vegetables and can make ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. This is super quick and looks beautiful on the plate.

Serves 4
Serving Size: 1 egg with ¼ of the vegetable mixture
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw arugula
  • 1 carrot – small dice or grated
  • 1 zucchini – small dice
  • 1 yellow squash – small dice
  • ½ cup mushrooms – sliced thin (if they are large cut the slices in half)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add the vegetables and sauté until soft (5-8 minutes).
  3. Add the thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a bowl and keep warm.
  5. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil.
  6. Cook the eggs to your level of doneness.
  7. Divide the raw arugula between four plates.
  8. Top with the cooked vegetables and place the egg on top.

Nutrition Information per Serving:

  • Serving Size: 1 egg and ¼ other ingredients
  • Vegetables: 1 ¼ cup
  • Fruits: 0 cups
  • Calories: 165 calories
  • Carbohydrates: 6 grams
  • Fiber:  2 gram
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Fat: 13 grams
  • Sodium: 266 mg

Written By

Dee Furlough, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDee FurloughArea Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences Call Dee Email Dee N.C. Cooperative Extension, Tyrrell County Center
Posted on Jan 26, 2021
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