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Vegetable Nutrition

Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the Vegetable Group. Vegetables can be fresh, frozen or canned. If buying canned, look for varieties that have no added salt. Or drain and rinse the vegetables in a colander for a few minutes to remove sodium.

The MyPlate recommended amount of vegetables is 1.5-4 cups/day (based on a 1200- to 3200-calorie diet). Veggies supply vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and natural plant chemicals (phytochemicals) that are important for health – so try to include veggies at all meals and snacks. Following are vegetable group serving suggestions and tips:

Food 1/2 cup equivalent Tips

½ cup, cooked Broccoli dishes up several essential vitamins, including vitamins A and C. It tastes great topped with grated Parmesan cheese.
Frozen Mixed Vegetables ½ cup, cooked Keep these on hand, for a quick side dish or to toss with cooked pasta or rice.
Carrots, cooked ½ cup, cooked Carrots are packed with beta-carotene, which the body can turn into vitamin A. Cooking carrots brings out their natural sweetness.
Winter Squash ½ cup Drizzle with honey or maple syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon before baking to enhance their natural sweetness.
Tomatoes 1 medium Tomatoes supply vitamins A and C, along with a natural color pigment called lycopene. Lycopene is more concentrated in cooked tomato products like tomato sauce and tomato soup, so count the tomato sauce on your pasta as a serving of vegetables.
Lettuce 1 cup Darker leaf lettuce, like romaine, is more nutritious than lighter leaf iceberg, so make your salads with a variety of greens.
Legumes ½ cup cooked or canned Legumes such as chick peas, navy beans, pinto beans and lentils can count in either the Vegetables or Meat & Beans Group.