Are You Eating Enough Fruits and Vegetables?

Fortunately I´m one of those people who actually like the taste of healthy food, so I can answer this question with a “yes”. (Don´t get me wrong though, I also have quite a taste for lots of unhealthy food as well.)

But I have to admit that, especially in winter, it´s sometimes a bit of a struggle to eat enough of the good stuff, because I, like so many others, tend to go for all that comfort food like chocolates, cakes and cookies.

So I made a deal with myself: whenever I indulge in one of the just mentioned little sins, I make myself eat one piece of fruit in order to balance it out. So far it works really well for me.

Generally it´s advisable to eat at least 3, better 5, portions of fruits and vegetables each day. This is actually not as difficult as it might sound at first.

If you´re into porridge or muesli for breakfast like me, just add a handful of dried or fresh fruits – dates and apricots or a couple of fresh or frozen berries for example. Then have a banana or an apple as a snack sometime during the day and choose at least one vegetable option to go along with your lunch and dinner. Et voilá – you already have included four portions of fruit and veggies, which is pretty good going for my standards.

And for some visuals: I´ve made a little water color of the veggies that are patiently waiting for their turn – which will be in about three hours. 😉

 

veggies

Aubergines, tomatoes and carrots (water color on paper; Jan. 2019)

 

All of these, along with some beef, potatoes, zucchini, bell peppers and onions, are going to land in my “Roemertopf“(Roman pot).

The “Roemertopf” is an oval earthenware cooking pot that has to be soaked for about 30 minutes in cold water before you fill it with the seasoned veggies and meats of your choice. Depending on what you´re cooking it takes about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

What makes this way of preparing your food so special is, that all contents are cooking in their own juices, so you don´t have to add any fats. It also means that most of the vitamins and minerals are being preserved. And what´s best – it tastes just amazing!!!

And now to some nutritional facts about the veggies in my painting:

Along with tomatoes, potatoes and bell peppers, the aubergine belongs to the nightshade plant family. In addition to the classic purple variety, aubergines are available in other colours including lavender, jade green, orange and yellow and in a range of shapes and sizes. The most popular variety of aubergine looks like a large, pear-shaped egg, hence the American name ‘eggplant.’

Aubergines are an excellent source of dietary fibre. They are also a good source of vitamins B1 and B6 and potassium. In addition it is high in the minerals copper, magnesium and manganese. Aubergines are rich in antioxidants, specifically nasunin found in aubergine skin – which gives it its purple colour. A potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger, nasunin has been found to protect the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes.

The confusion about tomatoes being a ‘fruit’ or a ‘vegetable’ arises because of the differences in usage between scientists and cooks. Scientifically speaking, a tomato is definitely a fruit. As far as cooking is concerned, some things which are strictly fruits, such as tomatoes or bean pods, may be called ‘vegetables’ because they are used in savoury rather than sweet cooking. So you could say, that a tomato is technically the fruit of the tomato plant, but it’s used as a vegetable in cooking.

Tomatoes are mainly a source for carbohydrates with some fibre, but they are best known for their vitamin and mineral content which includes calcium, magnesium, beta-carotene (which becomes vitamin A when consumed), vitamins C and E, some B vitamins and vitamin K.

Research suggests that processing and cooking tomatoes can even increase their nutritional value, in particular, their antioxidant activity and lycopene compounds. So, in other words, making some pasta sauce would be more advisable than eating raw tomatoes in a salad.

The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root vegetables around – a result of its sweet flavour, which means it can be used raw or cooked, in sweet or savoury dishes.

And did you know, that up to the Middle Ages, all carrots were purple? The orange variety was first developed in 16th-century Holland by patriotic growers who bred it in tribute to the king, William I of Orange (/Oranje).

That old wive’s tale about carrots helping you see in the dark isn’t entirely off-target; they’re very high in betacarotene, which is an important nutrient in maintaining healthy eyes.

And like tomatoes, carrots benefit from being processed or cooked. An easy way to do this, is to grate carrots for a simple salad (best to use your food processor for this, otherwise it takes hours!). Then add some lemon juice, sugar (yes, I know, I know: bad stuff!), and olive oil. The last one is essential for an easier absorption of betacarotene into your body.

 

And how about you? Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables? What are your favorites?

Hope this post inspired you to include more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet!

Advertisements

71 thoughts on “Are You Eating Enough Fruits and Vegetables?

  1. Such an informative post, Sarah. Such a lovely painting of veggies too. Love the shading and detail. Really enjoyed reading this, and I’m really into eating healthy food that is good for us. I like eating green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and bok choy. Also am a big fan of brocolli and brocollini. I like carrots to sweeten my food – if I want my dish to taste sweeter, I’d add in some carrots as a substitute for sugar. I have heard that myth about the carrot helping us to see better. I guess all foods have their own superpower with the nutrients they have 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your visit and lovely comment, Mabel! 🙂 I´m thrilled to have you over and look forward to visit your blog soon!! 😀
      So glad to hear you´re also into eating healthy food – I admit I sometimes feel awkward admitting I like it! 😂 Spinach and other leafy veggies are great, so yummy and healthy too!
      And that´s a clever thing you do with using carrots to sweeten up a dish!
      Wishing you a wonderful weekend! 🙂 ❤

      Like

    • LOL! 😀 I know you are! 😉 I´m very fond of bananas myself, always have at least one each day, they´re kind of my go-to fruit. 😀 Actually plan to bake banana bread today, care to come over? 😉 😀
      Thanks so much! So glad you like the painting! Have a lovely afternoon! ❤ ❤ ❤

      Like

  2. Another very interesting post, Sarah! Yes, I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. My breakfast is basically the same as you: oatmeal or granola cereals with vanilla yogurt and fresh berries and nuts. Ohhhh, I also like tortilla chips! I particularly enjoyed all the nutritional and historical information in this post. I did not know the origin of the orange carrot. So Interesting. And such a beautiful painting, too. Enjoy your meal. Happy Saturday dear friend! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Dominique! I knew you are a healthy eater, you simply had to be with that physique. 😉 It´s really fun to research these things about food and their origin. They just started growing and selling purple carrots again around here, but I haven´t bought them yet. But look forward to it, since I hope the color will stay this way once cooked. 😉
      Have a lovely day! xoxoxo ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the watercolor. So healthy looking. I love vegetables but not cooked veggies. I like them fresh and nothing in the nightshade family. As I’ve aged, my stomach has become so much more sensitive to many things that were once easy enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, what a great piece of Still Life! And wise words on nutritious intake of veges and fruits… l enjoy most fruits and veges, Sarah. The mango and stone fruits like peaches and nectarines are some favourites. Such an informative post, really inspiring! Have a wonderful week, my friend! 😃 ⚘ 🍑 🍏 🥑 🍇

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Iris! 😄💕
      I so love mango and peaches but it will take a while for me to have fresh ones again. 😉 Always something to look forward to! Really love all summer fruit! So glad you do too! Have a beautiful week! 😄❤🐨🍑🍅

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You’re awesome with watercolors! I’m trying oil pastels right now.. taking more interests in chalk pastels because of the awesome sky paintings I’m seeing online. But, I might try watercolors when I get more confident!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My “problem” is vegetables take preparation, at the least they have to be washed. Candy and cookies . .. on the other hand . . . .I do manage to peel a banana every morning . . . even tho it’s exhausting . . .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hehehe! I do get what you mean, Judy! 😉 But since I make most of my cakes and cookies myself that also means lots of preparation efforts! LOL! 😀

      Like

  7. Beautiful painting and fascinating veggie facts and history, Sarah! I do love my veggies. In fact I have a pot on the stove right now awaiting two lovely bunches of broccoli… Our coffee table centerpiece is a huge jar filled with dried apple slices from our trees. 🙂 Have a wonderful time preparing all those colorful, healthy and yummy fruits and vegetables! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Bette! So lovely to know of another veggie fan! Broccoli is one of my favorites. 😀
      And what a beautiful decoration idea with the dried apple slices! I did the same once with oranges. 😀
      Have a wonderful Sunday! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, Ms. Nutritionist, you’ve woken me up with lots of great and entertaining info. I will start my day inspired, thank you. One of my tricks, because the worst kinds of “foods” tempt me, is to eat a piece of fruit or a green pepper or carrots before I start in on other things. The healthy option dulls my appetite.
    I really enjoyed reading about your Roemertopf. I find one pot slow cooking very appealing in winter. Your watercolor is a perfect, low calorie accompaniment to this article.
    Yes to better eating – thanks for the nudge in the right direction, Sarah.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You´re very welcome, Shari! 🙂
      And thank you – even my cake paintings are low carb, isn´t that fab? 😉
      And yours is a very clever way to eat more of the good stuff.
      I really love cooking with my Roemertopf as you only need to cut all the ingredients and let it do the cooking for you and in the meantime you´re free to do something else. The only downside is, that you can´t watch the food through the oven glass because the lid has to stay put! And I looove watching food in the oven! 😀 It has a calming effect on me, I guess, like some people love watching their washing machines – lol!
      Have a wonderful Sunday! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I eat lots of veggies, but mostly low carb ones, Sarah, like spinach, chard, broccoli. I love learning about the history of food and how they’ve evolved and why. Your painting is so colorful! My 5-year-old grandson is anti-vegetable, so when I take him grocery shopping, instead of shopping for “vegetables,” we shop for “colors.” He loves picking out all the colors and buying vegetables. When we get home, I cut them up into shapes and we make vegetable art on a plate and then eat the colors. It’s a blast really. A lovely post with an important message.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks so much, Jill! 😄
      I love the colour of aubergines too, such a rich and deep purple! And it’s a wonderful vegetable that can be prepared in so many different ways. Just have a look on Google, I bet you’ll be inspired to give it a try! ☺
      And two apples and carrots are just perfect! Even more so when they prevent you from clenching your teeth!! Happy weekend! ❤

      Like

  10. This is quite a timely post, as my doctor asked me your title question on Thursday! I love the word “aubergine,” but I just can’t make myself like the stuff, as hard as I’ve tried. I will try your carrot salad, though.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Haha! What a coincidence! 😄 I hope for your sake that he answer was yes. 😉
      Did you ever try pureed aubergine? It’s a broadly known Mediterranean dish and quite easy to prepare and delicious to use as a dip with some flatbread. It has a wonderfully creamy consistency and wouldn’t remind you at all of its otherwise sponginess. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

    • I’m with Liz, Aubergine just doesn’t taste right, plus I don’t know if its standard practice but I was always told to salt them before use, and I never add salt if I can help it. Ok that’s not true, sometimes on chips!
      But my get out of jail free card, I’m a vegetarian so live in veg, beans and pulses so def get my 5 a day.I love grated carrots. What I read, years ago, don’t wash them or peel them. They have lots of B6 in the skin. Or is that all out of date now?

      Liked by 2 people

      • If you steam-bake the aubergine as a whole in the oven like you do when you want to make baba ghanoush then you don´t need to salt them.
        I´m really not that much into eating meat, maybe 2 or 3 times in a month, so my diet is pretty much veggie heavy too. 😉
        And not peeling carrots makes sense, using a brush should be sufficient enough, I think, like with mushrooms. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Gavin!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Lisa! 😄💕 And I like to think of fruit as dessert too, just think of strawberries or mangos – so sweet and delicious no added sugars needed. 😄
      Have a fabulous weekend too!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s