Let’s Eat (More Vegetables)!

October 7, 2010 | By | Comments (0)

Hello, RS fans! I’m Maggie Shi, a fairly new addition to the RealSimple.com team and one of the new Simply Stated bloggers. While I cover a variety of things for the website, my main love—obsession, really–is food. And while I do love cooking (though I admit, I don’t cook nearly as often as I should), I confess, I love eating even more. I adore restaurants, ingredients, food markets, chefs, food TV shows (my favorite is Top Chef), recipes (I have a folder titled “Recipes to Try” that keeps getting bigger and bigger), food trends and issues, and pretty much anything having to do with the edible. So, I’ll be talking about all of that here every week. Is that general enough for you?

What’s on my mind right now is an article from the New York Times about how—despite lots of marketing campaigns, Michelle Obama’s influence, endless health studies, and the abundance of ready-to-eat options out there—Americans aren’t consuming more vegetables than they were 10 years ago. Are you surprised? I was. According to the article, only 26 percent of adults have three or more servings of vegetables per day (a serving being a half cup of cooked veggies or a full cup of fresh greens). I knew we still weren’t eating enough vegetables, but I certainly thought we were eating more than we were a decade ago.

Of course, I was reading this article at my work computer while eating lunch at my desk. Today, my lunch happened to be a vegetable “stew” of tomatoes, onions, eggplant, yellow squash, and celery root with whole wheat couscous (by the way, here’s a neat trick—after all my veggies had simmered on the stove and the tomatoes had released their juices, I dumped some couscous directly into the pot and then covered it for a few minutes. The couscous cooked up nice and fluffy and had great flavor because it soaked up all those luscious tomato juices, plus I didn’t need to dirty another bowl). I eat lots of vegetables these days because I’m part of a CSA (community-supported agriculture), so I get a weekly assortment of amazingly fresh, ripe produce directly from a local farm. And I hate to see any of that produce go to waste.

But no, I don’t always eat like this. I have plenty of pork pig-outs, I can consume enormous steak dinners, it’s hard to resist a burger and fries, and then of course, there are my desert island staples—I’m pretty sure I could live solely on bread, cheese, and red wine for quite a long time. So I think if you average everything out, I probably get just enough servings of vegetables on a regular basis, with plenty of peaks and dips along the way. What about you?

Do you think you’re getting the recommended daily 4-5 servings of vegetables a day? How do you incorporate veggies into your daily diet, and what prevents you from eating your greens?