Friday, March 3, 2017

Are You Making Your Veggies Less Nutritious

When you are shopping or looking for a snack - do you sometimes have to coach yourself to eat your veggies. "They are so good for you" 
That is absolutely true, Fruits and Vegetables are great for you. Eating them in any form, is good for you. And eating more of them rather than less of them is also always good for you. 
But for both fruits and vegetables there are Best ways to prepare them. Take for example the potato - Good for you, ....  cut into pieces and fried in oil, less good for you. served as a side dish with a pot roast, better for you. Believe it or not, it is easy for veggies (and fruits) to lose their nutrition if they aren't being prepared properly.  

While it is good to focus on eating more veggies - make it really worth your while and eat them the best ways. These are some of the ways that you can take away nutrition from your produce. 
Lots of people, especially people who are so called "health-nuts" juice their fruits and veggies. It is true, it is an effortless what you get more fruits and veggies in your diet. But fiber is an important aspect of the reason we eat fruits and vegetables. The fiber makes us feel less hungry and improves our digestion. 
If you still want to drink your veggies, put them into a smoothie. This uses much more of the plant than just juice extraction -- and also means you don't need a super expensive juicer that you really don't need. 
Not washing your veggies
Are there really any of us out there NOT washing our veggies.  I am going to pretend that there are not, and we'll all just read this tip and say, of course, we knew that. 
Almost all the fruits and veggies in the stores (and a lot of the farmer's markets) have chemicals on them. Even though they have received approval for their uses. They still aren't good for us. Just the simple step of washing your veggies and fruits can take you a long ways towards having they be the healthiest that they can be. 

You only eat your veggies raw
Some of have thought that eating our veggies raw is by far the most nutritious way to eat them. I'm not sure, but I would be willing to bet that there is a "diet" out there that calls for only eating raw veggies. - but the fact is that eating raw veggies do not mean that your are getting as many nutrients as possible. 
Some veggies like tomatoes are actually more nutritious when cooked. A lot of veggies cannot be digested and absorbed in their raw forms. Unless you just love raw ____ and can't stand to eat it when cooked. (there is a certain child at my house that feels this way about broccoli) eat it raw rather than not eating it at all. But most of the time, you will get more from your veggies by cooking them than by eating them raw. 
Using the wrong salad dressing
We all know by not that having our lettuce swimming in a sea of ranch dressing isn't "good" for you.  And we are learning that fat can improve the absorbtion of nutrients. But here the type of fat that you add to your salad really matters. If you are brave enough, read the back of that bottle of ranch dressing - how far did you get before you were horrified? Experiment with some homemade dressing recipes at home. Extra virgin olive oil is the best fat to add to your salads and it makes fantastic dressings!

Boiling your veggies
When you put your veggies in a big pot of water to boil, that water steals and absorbs the vitamins from your veggies - and then.... you dump that water down the sink. Bye Bye Good Stuff. Also, boiling can reduce the antioxidant contents in food. 
If you are used to boiling your veggies, I challenge you to step out of that routine and try steaming, roasting, sauteing - they are all ways of cooking your vegetables that will keep the nutrients. 
I know that I certainly don't like overcooked vegetables. I made the most delicious dinner last week and I killed the brussels sprouts, I turned one of my favorite veggies into  mushy green blob. It was so sad really.  I am going to take a wild guess that most of us don't like overcooked vegetables - mushy peas, soggy carrots, squishy broccoli - it is all horrifying. 
So when you are cooking veggies try and keep in mind, that they should start to lose their color. When you are cooking them and they get nice and bright - you're almost done. 

You don’t buy frozen veggies
I haven't been shy about my love for frozen veggies. I wrote a whole post about it that you can read HERE. 
Fresh veggies start to get less fresh just a few days after they are picked. But frozen produce on the other hand is picked at the peak of freshness (not set to ripen in the store), flash frozen and packaged immediately. A lot of times, they can be even better for you than the version in your store sitting there stacked so nicely. 
Frozen veggies are easier to store, and you can use just a little bit if you want and not have to thaw the whole bag. They are a lot of times cheaper than fresh. 
* Remember that eating more fruits and vegetables is always a great idea. If you are like my son and can't stomach the idea of cooked broccoli but will happily eat it at ever meal raw - let it be.  But if you are trying to get the most out of each time you eat, these are some ideas to think about. If you are going to have that apple as a snack instead of a candy bar, make it really really count.