What are Vegetables?
Vegetables are the edible parts of plants. They can be divided into two main groups:
1. Below the Ground vegetables:
Roots and tubers of plants such as carrot, parsnip, turnips, swede, potato, Jerusalem artichokes, radish, beetroot, onion, garlic, yam sweet potato, celeriac.
2. Above the Ground Vegetables
- Leaves such as spinach, silver beet, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, kale
- Flowers such as broccoli, cauliflower, globe artichoke
- Stalks such as celery, asparagus, fennel
- Pod such as peas, beans, sweetcorn, okra
- Vegetable fruits such as aubergine (eggplant) capsicum, chilli, tomato
- Vine fruit such as cucumber, squash zucchini, pumpkin, marrow
- Fungi such as a variety of mushrooms.
How do we eat vegetables?
Vegetables are available raw, canned, frozen dehydrated and as a juice. They may be prepared and eaten in many ways:
- Raw, baked, roasted, steamed, dried, microwaved, fried
- Added to salads, soups, stews, cakes, breads, pies, stir fries.
- Stuffed , mashed, torn or shaped, sliced diced.
Nutritional Value of Vegetables
Vegetables are generally:
- Low in fat
- High in fibre
- High in vitamins and minerals
- Potatoes and green leafy vegetables particularly cabbage and Brussels sprouts, capsicum, tomatoes and broccoli are good sources of vitamin C.
- Dark green leaves of leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli and yellow vegetables such as carrots and pumpkin are good sources of vitamin A in the form of carotene.
- Green vegetables, dried peas and beans are good source of folate.
- Vegetables contain small but significant quantities of iron, calcium and phosphorus.
- Root vegetables such as potatoes sweet potatoes and taro are good source of carbohydrate.
Most vegetables contain little protein the exceptions being pulses and soya beans and to a lesser extent, potatoes, peas and beans. Soya beans are one of the few vegetables foods that contain complete protein.
Eat a variety of vegetables everyday including:
- Dark green vegetables like spinach and broccoli
- Orange vegetables like sweet potatoes , pumpkin and carrots,
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts
- Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes taro and corn
- Salad vegetables like lettuce tomato, cucumber and capsicum.
- Legumes like dried peas, beans, lentils and chick peas.
Choose a wide variety of vegetables from week to week. Use frozen and canned vegetables as alternative to fresh as they are nutritious often cheaper, quick and easy to prepare. And easily stored. Try the no –added salt varieties.
With all the good things about vegetables, it is wise when you go shopping, why don't you pick some veggies for lunch or dinner, it is good for you !
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