The humble Vegetable

Village Health DietitianHealth InformationLeave a Comment

Leanne Curgenven is a Nutritionist at Village Health Lincoln Road, specialising in dietary management of a wide range of health conditions including diabetes, high cholesterol, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), gluten intolerance and coeliac disease amongst others.

Read on for some interesting information about the humble vegetable, and then watch this space each month for more insights from Leanne. 

Vegetables

It is becoming increasingly easy to become inundated with confusing and conflicting nutritional messages these days. This series of articles aims to give credit to the most simple and effective nutritional messages often forgotten about in today’s complicated world of dietary do’s and don’ts.

The long and the short of it is… if you want to lose weight, improve blood sugar levels, and generally sparkle from the inside out, you can’t go past vegetables as a staple for every meal.

For those of you that don’t know, there are generally two types of vegetables: starchy vegetables, which typically include roots (beetroot, swede, radish, carrot, celeriac, parsnip, turnip), tubers (kumara, potato, yam, artichoke), and also include sweetcorn and buttercup squash. These vegetables are typically higher in carbohydrate and therefore ‘energy’ or ‘calories’ than non-starchy vegetables.

All other vegetables are classified as non-starchy vegetables, and are typically lower in carbohydrate and hence energy/calories, as they contain a higher water content. They are also more highly concentrated in vitamins, minerals and fibre than their starchy counterparts.

Therefore it makes sense that those trying to lose weight, or manage blood sugar levels (especially if there is a history of diabetes in your family), to make non-starchy vegetables a major component of your everyday eating regimen.

So how can I do this you say? Common barriers to eating more vegetables include – time to prepare, lack of ideas to prepare, and expenses incurred due to increased spoilage and wastage of unused fresh vegetables.

Time and money saving tips:

  • Prepare more than you need – cook more vegies, make a bigger salad or stir-fry and take for lunch
  • Frozen vegies are just as good as fresh, don’t spoil, and are a quick base for a healthy lunch – fill your lunchbox half way with vegies, add protein in the form of fish, meat or legumes a handful of rice/pasta/croutons/starchy vegetables and drizzle with vegetable oil/vinaigrette/dressing of choice
  • Look into a fruit and vegie coop for sourcing your fresh produce, order online, and pay less than retail. See foodtogether.co.nz
  • Check out www.vegetables.co.nz or www.healthyfood.co.nz for more ideas

Leanne

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