Women should eat 2.5 cups of vegetables a day. The US Dept. of Agriculture recommends 1.5 cups of dark green vegetables, 5.5 cups of red & orange vegetables, 1.5 cups of beans & peas, 5 cups of starchy vegetables, and 4 cups of other vegetables.
Cooking Light published a good serving guide:
Lightly Active: An average of less than 30 minutes of exercise a day
Moderately Active: An average of 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day
Very Active: An average of 60 minutes of exercise or more a day
If you're feeling like you're in a rut, check out which vegetables are in season.
For those who like an extra crunch, eat raw. This is the easiest option, with the least amount of prep. Carrots with hummus, broccoli with dressing, tomato, cucumber or sweet pepper slices, or spinach salad with pine nuts and a hard-boiled egg for lunch.
You can also add raw sprouts, avocado, cabbage to sandwiches; I'm a big fan of paninis, but hamburgers and deli meats work well too.
The benefits of raw vegetables are many, but if you're like me, they're to be enjoyed in moderation. Some vegetables benefit from a bit more preparation.
Like sweet potatoes and zucchini! If you'd prefer less of a crunch, steaming is always a fine option. There is also baking and roasting, which works well with potatoes, kale and asparagus. There are many ways to "perk up steamed vegetables", like adding a chile-lime butter mixture on top. It's also a wonderful excuse to add alcohol to vegetables: whiskey-glazed carrots, anyone?
Perhaps one of my favorite ways to add vegetables into pasta dishes: leeks, spinach, broccoli, peas, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, kale, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, carrots...
If you are feeling extra healthy, you can fix zucchini or summer squash into pasta!
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A few more usual suspects to inspire more vegetables in your diet:
- salsa & guacamole
- soba salad
- tomato & mozzarella tart
- cheesy broiled tomatoes
A few of my favorite idea spots:
Bon Appetit magazine
Cook's Illustrated magazine + The New Best Recipe cook book
How To Cook Everything cook book
Real Simple (the current food editor wrote a pretty fabulous cook book as well)
Tres bon! Joining in with Jen & co. Any more ideas for us?