By Leanne Ely
Very few of us manage to get in all of the vegetables we need everyday for optimal health—at least 5-13 servings (about 6 cups) each day, a variety from each color group: dark greens (lettuce, kale, spinach), red and orange (sweet potatoes, pumpkins, tomatoes), and “other” vegetables (cabbage, brussels sprouts, onions).
In most cases, for cooked and fresh vegetables, one cup is what you’d put in a measuring cup, but for raw leafy greens and lettuce, you need to measure out two cups to equal one.
For dried veggies and fruits, you only need to measure out a fraction to equal one cup.
Clear as mud?
The broader the variety of vegetables you’re eating, the more nutrients you’re going to be taking in. And that’s what we want!
I know it can be difficult to get all of those vegetables in, not only because of the work it takes to shop for, prep, cook and eat them all, but also because produce is not cheap, especially the essential dark green vegetables.
There are some dark greens that are less expensive than others: collards, broccoli, mustard greens, and parsley. Try adding more of these foods to your grocery order if you’re watching your budget.
Frozen vegetables are more affordable, so look for frozen broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and spinach. I tend to use all of my freshest produce within the first few days of taking it home, and I rely on frozen veggies when I’ve scraped the bottom of the barrel.
Look for inexpensive veggies that can go a long way. For instance, cabbage is a very budget-friendly vegetable, packed with nutrition, and it’s oh-so-versatile. You can serve it raw shredded in salads, sauteed, fried, roasted, or added to soups.
Another way to save money on vegetables is to stop leaving them to rot in your crisper drawer! When you have a piece of produce that’s not going to be used up before it goes bad, use it in a soup, a smoothie, or juice it. Or do what I do and keep a zipper bag or container in the freezer for these veggie scraps, and use them in a batch of bone broth.
Speaking of crisper drawers, I wrote an article awhile back about how to use those drawers properly. You can find that information here: http://savingdinner.com/refrigerator/