We hear it all the time: “I can’t eat that. I’m watching my weight.” Many dieters and healthy-lifestyle-seekers have a list of foods they can’t eat, including vegetables. But why are we criticizing certain vegetables? Is a russet potato not as nutritious as a sweet potato? Is a carrot lacking in healthful nutrients? And corn? That poor guy never stood a chance once high-fructose corn syrup was exposed.
I too have been that person, so no judgement. But let’s ask ourselves, are these vegetables truly not a part of a healthy lifestyle? What’s the real deal with these not-so-popular vegetables? Here are some straight-forward facts. I’ll let you decide.
- Good source of fiber, low in fat, and even offers some protein – fiber helps keep you full and aids in heart and digestive health. You can read more about the benefits of fiber here.
- Excellent source of potassium (more than a banana!), vitamin B6 and vitamin C.
- 1 medium potato provides: 5 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 25% your Daily Value of potassium, 30% your Daily Value of vitamin B6 and 70% your Daily Value of vitamin C!
Health foodie tip: do you enjoy sour cream with your potato? Try fat free plain greek yogurt instead for some added protein and good-for-your-gut probiotics.
- High in vitamin A and K, biotin, and fiber.
- Full of antioxidants and phytonutrients and are famous for the phytonutrient carotenoid which supports eye health.
- 1 cup of chopped carrots provides: 3.6 grams of fiber and 427% of your Daily Value of vitamin A!
Health foodie tip: love ranch? They now make yogurt ranch packets that you can mix into your plain greek yogurt. A healthful alternative to regular ranch.
- High in fiber, vitamin A and antioxidants that promote eye and skin health.
- Did you know? Corn tortillas are higher in fiber and lower in fat when you compare them to their flour counterparts – a great substitute!
- 1 cup of whole kernel corn provides: 4.4 grams of fiber and 23% of your Daily Value of vitamin C!
Health foodie tip: a little goes a long way with corn, add half a serving of canned corn to a homemade burrito bowl. I make mine with quinoa or rice, avocado, iceberg lettuce, cheese, veggies, and greek yogurt as a sour cream replacement.
I leave you with this (I will forever preach it):
Moderation and variety are key factors in healthful eating habits – enjoy that white potato, those carrots or some corn when you want it. Guess what? It is absolutely okay to eat a serving of vegetables that has 5 grams of sugar. In fact, the majority of our sugar intake should come rom the sugars naturally found in vegetables. Look at the bigger picture – the bigger benefits. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Unless specified by your health professional for medical reasons, stay away from that diet with strict limitations – especially one that recommends not including vegetables as part of your healthy lifestyle.