Healthy Vegetables: Getting started

Healthy vegetables are a universe of exciting, unique tastes and textures. Vegetables aren't boiled spinach and creamed corn anymore!

Here are a few ideas for eating more vegetables:

What is your favorite vegetable? Can you have it tonight?

Jog your memory with the List of Vegetables.

Vegetable Juice
Try a vegetable juice or tomato juice. Try to find 100% vegetable juice without additives (in a natural food store). For an adventure, try a vegetable blend at a juice bar.

Prepared Salads and Vegetable Plates
Many supermarkets and natural food stores carry premade salads and raw vegetable plates in their deli sections; many have salad bars. Take a look at what is available where you shop.

Prewashed Vegetables
Many supermarkets and natural food stores carry prewashed and cut healthy vegetables, ready to eat, in the produce aisle in plastic bags. Broccoli and cauliflower florets, carrots, and peapods are commonly available.

Easy Raw Vegetables

Everybody likes a raw vegetable plate. You may wish to call raw vegetables "crudités," as my mother liked to.

Raw vegetables make great snacks; great lunch items; great with eggs, nut butters, or unrefined salt. Ideas for raw healthy vegetables: carrots, celery, cucumber slices, radishes, green pepper slices, scallions, tomato slices, zucchini slices.

Spreads, dips, and salsas can be served on fresh vegetables instead of on chips. Here are ideas for creating those vegetable snacks.

Daikon Radish
A daikon is a large, exotic radish that is popular in Japan and widely available in the U.S. Here's an easy raw daikon radish recipe with more information.

Mixed Greens
Make a salad with different lettuce than everyday iceberg lettuce. Romaine is a particularly nutritious lettuce. Romaine and other mixed greens can be bought prewashed and precut in plastic bags. Try flax seed oil as a dressing. Add your favorite raw vegetables and slices of hard boiled eggs.

Sliced Avocado
Slices of avocado go well with raw vegetables or on salads.

The avocado is rich in enzymes and fiber, and it contains the same healthy fat that olive oil does (oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid). It's technically a fruit, but its smooth, hearty flavor and ability to go with so many foods makes us think of the avocado as a vegetable.

When ripe, the avocado becomes soft and its skin darkens. Cut the ripe avocado in half by slicing through its skin and then pulling the two halves apart. Remove the pit with the point of the knife, and then peel the skin from each half.

Avocados are the basis for guacamole, which is known as a delicious dip for chips. It's also great with raw vegetables, or with hamburger, steak, or chicken. It's easy to make real guacamole at home: see this easy guacamole recipe. 

Cabbage Revisited
I think it's sometimes called "the humble cabbage." Here's cabbage ideas in order of increasing daring:

  • Shredded raw red cabbage with flax seed oil dressing
  • Coleslaw
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kim-chee (or kimchi), the spicy Korean fermented cabbage (check the refrigerated section at the natural food store)

How To Cook Vegetables

Steaming is the easiest and fastest way to cook healthy vegetables: more information here on how to steam vegetables. Ideas: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, daikon radish, brussels sprouts. Easy to use prewashed broccoli, cauliflower, peapods, carrots, and others are available at many grocery stores.

Stir Fry
Stir fry in a wok or frying pan: continuously stirring small pieces of vegetables in oil at a high temperature. More information here on how to make stir fry vegetables. My favorite: bok choy stir fry. 

Sauté an onion to serve with burgers. Slowly fry onion slices at low temperature in butter. Try sautéing other vegetables: slices of squash, zucchini, or radishes.

Fried Plantains
A plantain is a fruit--a cousin to the banana. But a plantain is always cooked like a vegetable! This fried plantain recipe makes a fun substitute for French fries.

Sweet Potatoes
To bake a sweet potato:

  • Scrub with a vegetable brush
  • Cut a single slit into the potato before baking
  • Put uncovered in a glass Pyrex pan
  • Bake one hour at 350 degrees F.

Eat with butter, melted cheese, or sour cream.

A Farm-Fresh Vegetable Supply

Farmers' Market
Inexpensive and high-quality vegetables can be found fresh at a farmers' market.

Find a farmers' market near you: Local Harvest: Farmers' Markets 

Community Supported Agriculture
Get a weekly box of healthy vegetables from a local farmer.

Find a farmer here: Local Harvest: CSA 

Vegetable Gardening
Don't rule out growing vegetables--even if you don't have a yard.

Container gardening and more: