If you have tried to achieve "Five-a-Day," you know that eating two servings of fruit, the minimum recommendation, is easy, but fitting in the vegetables can be the hard part.
For the fruit, slice a banana over your cereal at breakfast, snack on fruit salad after lunch, and you have done it.
For the vegetables, measure out a half-cup of cooked broccoli and a cup of green salad, and see how modest this three-serving goal is for vegetables.
Still, few Americans manage to consume more than one and a half servings of vegetables every day. So how can eating the recommended three servings become easy?
For starters, I always double that cup of salad, because one cup of leafy greens is a puny serving. Though I like the European way of serving salad after the main course, I have it first, both at home and when eating out, because when I am hungry, it seems to disappear easily.
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When I know I do not have time to cut up vegetables, I cheat by buying them at a salad bar, already cut up. It not only saves time, but lets me buy just a portion or two, which means I will not find yellowing or yucky vegetables in the corners of the refrigerator a week later.
If I have ten minutes to chop up some stuff, I make mug soup.
For this, I cut broccoli into florets, or peel and dice a butternut squash, and put it in a pot with a diced onion and some cumin for the broccoli, or cinnamon and ginger for the squash. Add three cups of water and cook, covered, until everything is soft, about 20 minutes. Puree it and you will have a sippable soup. A big mugful, equalling two servings of veggies, goes down in a blink.
When there is more time to cook, ratatouille and other vegetable stews are my favorites. They taste so good that eating a cup and a half, your three servings of vegetables, is a treat.
I also love interesting salads. I call this one Winter Tabbouleh because it includes little broccoli florets and an apple. Besides adding wintery flavor, they make this salad substantial enough to be a light meal.
Makes about 8 servings.
- 3/4 cup medium bulgur
- 2-1/2 cups boiling water
- 2-1/2 cups small broccoli florets
- 2 large plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely chopped
- 5 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped mint
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, or to taste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Place bulgur in a medium bowl. Pour the hot water over it. Set aside for 30 minutes. Line sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth or paper towels. Pour bulgur into the sieve and drain well. Using paper towels and your hands, squeeze bulgur to extract as much excess moisture as possible. Return bulgur to the bowl.
- Cook broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute. Transfer broccoli to a colander and run ice cold water over it to stop cooking and set its color. Drain well and add to the bowl of bulgur.
- Add tomatoes, apple, scallions, mint and oil. Using a fork, toss until well combined. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper. This salad keeps 1 to 2 days if covered in the refrigerator.
Nutritional Info Per Serving:
2 g. total fat (less than 1 g. saturated fat),
15 g. carbohydrate,
2 g. protein,
4 g. dietary fiber,
11 mg. sodium
1 Bread/Starch, 1/2 Fat
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