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Daily consumption of vegetables is encouraged for people of all ages. In fact, the first foods that are generally introduced to infants is some member of the vegetable family. So, if the first food consumed as a baby is a vegetable, that alone should indicate the purity and importance of them in our daily diet. Vegetables are slam-packed with nutrients, including potassium, fiber, folic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin C, to name a few. They are also, usually, a low carbohydrate food, which makes them beneficial to eat whether you are trying to lose or sustain weight. In addition, they aid in keeping your heart healthy, which, in turn, can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. While there are obviously fantastic benefits to eating a diet high in vegetables, many people avoid them because of the taste. However, there are ways to eat vegetables that can appeal to your taste buds.
There are multiple ways to cook a variety of vegetables including steaming, roasting, grilling, baking, or sautéing. Seriously, the possibilities are endless and with the application of the right seasoning, the taste can be delicious. Roasting tends to be a crowd-favorite when cooking vegetables because it gives the vegetables a delicious, charred taste with a crunch. However, questions have been raised regarding if roasting vegetables diminishes the nutritional value. When you heat a vegetable quickly for an extended period of time, the water-soluble vitamins, like vitamin C and B, can be lowered. Also, while a small amount of oil is needed to correctly cook the food, too much oil can add excess calories and fat. So, while roasting does diminish some nutritional value, vegetables, even after being roasted, are still beneficial. If eating roasted vegetables increases your consumption of vegetables each day, then eat them.
However, to get the full spectrum of nutrients, try switching up the way that you cook them. For example, eat them raw one day, sautéd the next, and then roasted. This will ensure that you are not missing out on the range of nutritional benefits that veggies have to offer. The general consensus is that steaming vegetables is the ideal cooking method. Normally, vegetables steam fairly quickly, which means it reduces the heat exposure. Reduction in heat means that the vegetables will maintain a better nutritional value. Many people choose to steam the vegetables before roasting them because it cuts down on cook time, holds the nutrients, and still gives the delicious roasted flavor.
In conclusion, per the United States Department of Agriculture, it is recommended to eat at least 5-13 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. This means you should be eating vegetables at each meal to reach that goal. So, when you are planning your meals for the week, shake up your methods of cooking and ensure a wide variety of vegetables. This will boost the multiple nutritional benefits that can be derived from veggies.