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Veggie Vitamin ABCs

Contributed by: NAPSA

(NAPSA) - Americans know it is important to eat their veggies. But, according to a recent national survey, while 80 percent of adults say they eat vegetables because they are good for them, the majority is still stumped about basic veggie nutrition.
Veggie Vitamin ABCs
Since March is the American Dietetic Association's National Nutrition Month, a time for Americans to make informed food choices and develop sound eating and physical habits, now is the perfect time for the more than 70 percent who feel they are not eating enough veggies, to learn. Vegetables are packed with important vitamins, minerals and fiber. Plus, a low - fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some cancers and help keep your heart healthy.

Nutrition Know - How

The comprehensive survey titled the Green Giant Vegetable Report polled more than 1,500 American adults and found that most respondents are confused about which vegetables include specific nutrients, such as vitamins A and C. In addition, few recognize the nutritional benefits of frozen vegetables.

  • ReFRESHER Course: Frozen vs. Fresh - Another surprising result from the survey is that nearly two - thirds (62 percent) of adults don't know or are not sure that frozen vegetables are as nutritious as fresh vegetables, despite scientific research supporting that fact. To help dispel consumer confusion, packages of Green Giant are now marked with the nutrition claim, "Frozen Vegetables Are As Nutritious As Fresh!" to remind consumers of the nutritional benefits of frozen vegetable varieties.

  • An "A" - Level Veggie - Carrots rank high as a contributor of vitamin A, yet only 23 percent of Americans know this, according to the Vegetable Report. Vitamin A not only helps maintain normal vision, but also helps build and maintain healthy skin, hair, nails, bones and teeth. In addition to orange vegetables, yellow and dark green vegetables can be good sources of vitamin A.

  • "C" is for Confusion - Nearly half of Americans (48 percent) are confused about which vegetables offer vitamin C. Vitamin C binds cells together, strengthens blood vessel walls and helps maintain a strong immune system. Excellent sources of vitamin C are broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus.

  • Fabulous Fiber - Although peas are one of the best vegetable sources of fiber, only 3 percent of adults think so. In addition to peas, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and lima beans are top fiber providers. Most Americans fall far short of the recommended levels of fiber, which provides many health benefits beyond digestive health. High levels of fiber are also recognized as assisting with appetite control.

"Less than one - third of adults feel they meet their daily requirement of vegetables, which means it's likely that too many people are missing out on important vitamins and minerals," said Juli Hermanson, registered dietitian and Senior Nutrition Scientist at General Mills, maker of Green Giant frozen vegetables. "By exercising some simple strategies, like adding frozen vegetables, which are convenient and offer the key nutritional benefits of fresh, Americans can come closer to meeting their daily vegetable quota."

Wholesome Advice

Hermanson provides these simple tips for incorporating vegetables into everyday meals and snacks:

  • Think ahead. Veggies are versatile and can easily be incorporated into rice, soups, pastas or stir - fry dishes. Keeping a stash of frozen vegetables on hand gives busy families an easy way to include veggies into any meal or side dish.

  • Turn up the heat. During winter, soup is the perfect meal that warms the body and fills the tummy. For a healthy flavor boost, mix frozen vegetables into your favorite pre - prepared soups.

  • Saucy snack. When you're looking for a snack in a snap, add frozen corn or mixed vegetables to salsa and serve with chips for a southwestern - style treat.

  • Dare to be different. Get creative and try stuffing pitas with scrambled eggs, shredded cheese and either fresh or frozen vegetables. It's a great breakfast for today's on - the - go commuter.

  • Perfect toppers. To add color, texture and flavor, use veggies to top off baked potatoes, sandwiches or plain cheese pizzas.

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