July 15th, 2018

From Our Table: Out of the garden and into your mouth

By Medicine Hat News on August 1, 2017.

SUBMITTED PHOTO Cool, crispy,raw vegetables straight from the garden can help you beat thte summer heat and help you get the daily amount of vegetables you need.

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy fresh from the garden vegetables. Despite the delicious, crisp refreshing taste of veggies, many people do not eat enough. When I’ve done nutrition counselling I’ve been amazed at how many people have said they don’t like vegetables. So I ask them a few more questions and they eventually say they really like carrots but only if they’re raw, or they love celery with peanut butter on it or raw bell peppers but only the orange ones. So It turns out they really do like vegetables. Of course you should eat healthy, which veggies are, but eating is also about enjoyment. Don’t force yourself to eat cooked carrots with your nose plugged if you only like them raw, that’s so silly. Be adventurous and try a wide variety then eat the ones you enjoy most.

Here are a few tips to help increase the amount of veggies you eat:

Buy a wide variety of vegetables then wash them and cut them up right away so they are ready to grab and go, eat for meals and super snacks.

Make a meal plan that includes 2-3 vegetables. If you plan ahead you will be more organized and have your favourite vegetables on hand ready to cook or enjoy raw.

Have vegetables for a snack and at each meal. If you increase your frequency of eating veggies you will automatically eat more.

Supersize vegetable portions. When you have a lunch or supper meal half your plate should be vegetables. The other quarter should be meat or meat alternatives and the other quarter starchy food choice like potatoes or rice

Set out a plate of cut up veggies before meals. Everyone seems to get the munchies right before mealtime. You might not see all the little family fingers grabbing on the run but I bet you big money the plate will be empty by the time the meal is ready.

Have a wide variety of vegetables to choose from, raw and cooked. It’s important to have lots of different types of vegetables. There are so many delicious choices and each has its own nutrition claim to fame. It’s especially important to introduce children to a very wide variety and if parents don’t like them zip your lip and let your kids decide for themselves. Research shows children need to try new foods several times before they can truly decide if they like it or not. Just because little Lola didn’t like mushy cooked carrots when she was a baby doesn’t mean she won’t like crispy cooked carrots or raw carrot sticks. Don’t create biases for your children.

Instead of making salad at supper, set out small bowls of a wide variety of salad fixings and let everyone create their own. This way everyone can enjoy all the veggies they really like.

What could be better to beat the heat this summer than cool, crispy raw veggies bought as close to home as possible or right from your own garden?

I just want to take this opportunity to wish my dad Orville Barnstable a very happy birthday. Today he is 92 and is totally amazing and inspiring. He rides his bike outside 7-10 km every day, 365 days a year. In the warmer weather he drives a Vespa around town and comes out to our house almost every day to feed the fish in our pond and play with our three dogs. He can fix just about anything and remembers details from 50 years ago better then I can from last week. He’s a great driver and backs out of our very long driveway lickety split. He also leaves for church early to “beat all the old people” — that’s one of my favourites. I love him with all my heart and am so proud of him. Happy birthday, Dad!

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Veggie Standing Sticks

Cut up a variety of vegetables such as carrots, celery, turnips, cucumbers, bell peppers,etc into 1 cm wide by 6-8 cm long sticks.

Put 2-3 Tbsp of your favorite dip or salad dressing in the bottom of a clear plastic cup or use a 125 ml jar. You could add in a few grape or cherry tomatoes for extra colour. Stand up a variety of veggie sticks in the dip and serve individual portions as snacks or with a meal.

A super fun way to eat veggies! Thanks to Teresa Stark for the idea.

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