How to strive for five (vegetables)

June 20, 2011 at 9:32 PM
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SANTA MONICA, Calif., June 20 (UPI) -- One way to strive for five daily servings of vegetables is to have one serving of a vegetable at each meal and maybe add a snack, a U.S. food expert suggests.

Phil Lempert -- a food industry analyst, trend watcher and creator of the Web site -- says produce is fresher and more nutritious when eaten in season, especially if grown locally, because transportation time is less and the sooner vegetables are eaten after being picked, the more nutritious they are.

Depending on where people live, most people in the United States should be able to find seasonally fresh asparagus, spinach, beets, broccoli, peas, turnips, lettuce, mushrooms, collards, kale and radishes, Lempert says.

Better yet, plant a garden of some vegetables, or buy already planted containers with tomatoes or greens that can be picked minutes from dinner being served, Lempert says.

However, that degree of freshness is not possible for many who are home-bound or have difficulty shopping often for produce. Lempert says using canned vegetables and beans is a good alternative and using canned veggies in casseroles, soups and stews saves preparation and cooking time, as well as energy, while providing important nutrients.

Salt is added to some vegetables and beans because it acts as a preservative, but is also advised to rinse canned foods thoroughly, to get rid of excess sodium from the canning liquids, Lempert says.

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