Healthy Habits in Decline? How do we eat more vegetables… easily, without becoming a vegetarian?

According to New York Times article by Roni Caryn Rabin, titled “Bad Habits Asserting Themselves”, healthy habits are on the decline, and only 24% of adults between 40 and 74 in US eats recommended 5 servings of fruit and vegetables, compared with 42% in ‘88. The majority of that 24% are either vegetarians or vegans, which probably increased quite a bit between ‘88 and ‘06.  You may think this is only for older adults, but who knows the number for those who are younger than 40? Could it be even worse?

This study, lead by Dr. Dana E. King, a professor of family medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston was done on 7000 adults between 40 and 74, because they are at greatest risk for heart disease.

In that article, Dr. King stated, “I worry that some people are taking medication instead of following a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “You take a pill and say, ‘I’ll eat whatever I want, and my doctor says my cholesterol is fine.’ Your pill may be lowering your cholesterol, but it’s not doing the other 100 things that proper eating and exercise do for you.”

Yeah, I worry about that too… for my fellow American friends.

One thing that surprises me ever since I moved here is that people seem to take vitamins and supplements, but their vegetable and fruit intake is really small, especially compared with people in Japan.  Even watching cooking shows, I notice the majority of the recipes on TV and in magazines are meat and carbohydrate recipes, and of course desserts.  Unless they are targeted to vegetarians.  Is there any happy medium in this country?

As food is my passion, I cannot give up meat, fish or dairy… or carbs, vegetables, or fruits for that matter (and the occasional fried food.)  I believe in a balanced diet, and eat everything in moderation.

Fruits are easier. So how can you incorporate more vegetables in your everyday diet?

From time to time, try to make a dish that showcases vegetables as the stars, and use meat as a condiment. And keep things like sautéed mirepoix to add to any dish.

The easiest thing to do is to do the prep work in larger batches, so that you have them ready to go.  One thing I found difficult about vegetables is that they require more cleaning, trimming and preparation. Since it takes virtually the same amount of time to do the prepping, it makes sense to do it  all at one time… Then they are ready to go… for lunch, snack or dinner, so it’s much easier to increase your vegetable intake.

I’ll share the recipe for a delicious stuffed vegetable dish my the next post… Here’s the photo to whet your appetite!

So stay tuned… Or click subscribe to “Secrets of a Kitchen Wizard” via email, on the top right, right below the photo of the red pots, so that you will receive it in your mailbox when it’s posted.

stuffed veggies

From top middle: yellow pepper, zucchini, squash blossom, tomato, and eggplant, stuffed with various toppings.

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