There’s a good chance your body is deficient in at least one nutrient, probably more.
Vegetables aren’t the only answer, but since most of us don’t eat enough of them, they’re a major part of the solution.
How you go about preparing them… well there’s a bit of controversy surrounding that, which I’m going to clear up.
Talking about vegetables is right on par with someone telling you the dream they had last night… or watching someone else’s home videos… or making out with popcorn in your mouth (you know you’ve done it)…
And yet this mundane topic has amassed a number of controversies.
I once heard heating up veggies in a microwave makes them basically poisonous. I’ve also been told cooking vegetables at all cooks the nutrients out anyway.
Because of internet-friendly chatter like this, I used to not eat veggies unless they were raw. Which meant I just wasn’t eating vegetables regularly.
Well it’s all a bunch of hogwash. And I can back that up with science if you’d like. But since you’re not here to read a bunch of science journals, here’s the gist of it:
It’s true that some nutrients are best absorbed in the body when eaten raw. But others are actually best when they’re cooked, or broken down by cutting or crushing.
For instance, cooking spinach helps your body better absorb the beta carotene. But brussels sprouts eaten raw are an excellent source of vitamin C.
Instead of giving you a complex list of which veggies to eat raw and which veggies to cook, I’m going to give you something much more practical.
The Right Way
There are only 3 things to remember with vegetables, and that’s to eat:
When I mentioned raw brussels sprouts earlier, did you gag a little?
I know I did.
Seriously, if you only like certain veggies cooked, wouldn’t it be better to just eat them that way versus not having them at all?
Of course there are ways you can “maximize” nutritional intake of the foods you’re eating, but aren’t we all busy enough trying to eat better and live our lives?
The wider the variety of vegetables— and the fresher and more colorful — the better. But first focus on what you enjoy, and branch out from there later. How they’re prepared is entirely up to you.
That includes frozen vegetables, too!
Freezing food doesn’t drastically decrease the nutritional value. The reality is that frozen or even canned veggies come in handy when you’re busy. Getting nutrition from these foods is better than not having any because you didn’t have time for prep.
How Much You Should Eat
In case you’ve missed it in our other resources (or if you’ve just forgotten), here are the ideal portion sizes for men and women when it comes to veggies:
Don’t let this make you feel like if you aren’t eating this much that you shouldn’t even bother. Again, it’s more important to have some vegetables than none at all.
Start where you can.
If that means just getting a little bit of veggies at a meal or two each day, that’s fine. Start with a reasonable goal that’s a little better than what you do now.
The only wrong way to eat veggies is the way that prevents you from eating them.