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Kaylor: Eat Your Veggies

By Staff | Oct 9, 2015

You probably have noticed the leaves turning color at this time of the year. Let nature’s colors be a cue to add more color to your plate, especially dark green and orange/gold vegetables. Many people do not eat enough of the “autumn-colored” fruits and vegetables.

Why Eat Vegetables?

Vegetables provide nutrition your body needs for repairs and to fight illness. Vegetables are a great source of potassium, fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C.

Potassium – We need potassium to help us maintain a healthy blood pressure. We can get potassium from sweet potatoes, white potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, and various types of beans and lentils.

Fiber – Fiber helps us reduce blood cholesterol levels, so it might lower our risk of heart disease. Fiber helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis (a common digestive problem). Fiber also helps us feel “full” so we might eat less and maintain a healthy weight. Eat the peeling on vegetables to get more fiber.

Vitamin A – Dark green, orange and gold vegetables are natural sources of “beta-carotene.” Deep-orange winter squash, carrots and pumpkin are especially high in this natural compound. Our body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A. Vitamin A helps keep our skin and eyes healthy, and it also protects against infections.

Vitamin C – Many vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage and bell peppers, are good sources of vitamin C. This nutrient helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. It also helps our body absorb iron from foods.

MASHED SWEET POTATOES

4 sweet potatoes (medium-sized)

tsp. thyme (dried)

tsp. salt

tsp. pepper

Wash and peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into slices that are inch thick. Put them in a saucepan with enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring the water to a boil on medium heat. Cook the potatoes for 20 to 25 minutes until they are soft. Drain the water. Put the potatoes in a medium bowl. Use a fork or potato masher to mash the potatoes. Mix in the thyme, salt and pepper.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 110 calories, 0 grams (g) of fat, 26 g of carbohydrate, 4 g of fiber, 220 milligrams of sodium and 370 percent of the daily value for vitamin A (as beta-carotene).

Recipe source: Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Network.

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