Dietary Guidelines: New this Season!
The season is in full effect, and we were certainly ready for the warmer and sunnier weather; perhaps not the drought we are in, a little rain wouldn’t hurt! Not only is it nice to have the longer days, outside play time, and a little Vitamin D, but having the option for fresh locally grown foods right within our reach is a seasonal favorite! The weekly CSA (and vegetable stand in town) from the Brown Family Farm introduces us to new varieties, and provides diverse flavor, texture, and nutrition to our summer dishes all season long!
With so many different varieties each week, it can get overwhelming, especially with those less familiar to us. Have you ever thrown away vegetables because they didn’t keep well? Or struggled with, should this be refrigerated or kept at room temperature? Storing vegetables isn’t always one size fits all. Storing each the correct way will help preserve their freshness and be safe to eat – whether that be in the refrigerator or on the tabletop! Make sure to check out The Brown Family Farm’s, Farm to Table Storage Guide, on how to store your weekly shares! You won’t want to waste a single vegetable this season!
Being a nutrition professional, it only seemed right to kick off this season with mentioning the new 2020 USDA Dietary Guidelines that came out this past January! If you are not familiar, the Dietary Guidelines were first published in 1980 and are reviewed and updated every 5 years (roughly). What’s published, for both the public and health care professionals, are science-based guidelines on how to promote health, reduce risk of chronic disease, and how to better meet our nutritional needs; and our weekly CSA aids in just that - the consumption of colorful varieties that lead to healthier communities!
No matter what size share you receive this summer, I can guarantee your vegetable intake will increase just by participating. If you are interested in knowing more about the quantity, that will depend upon your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity. However, in general, it is recommended for adults to consume 2-4 cups of vegetables per day; one cup of raw or cooked, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens is a serving (1 cup). Sounds easy enough! So why is eating vegetables so important? Most vegetables are low in fat and calories, and contain many nutrients needed that we are commonly deficient in as a society. The most common nutrients we are deficient in are calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and dietary fiber. Knowing the nutrients vegetables provide may help you decide which to focus on incorporating into your everyday diet! See below :)
Calcium: Sources include acorn squash, collard greens, Swiss chard, beet greens, kale, spinach, butternut squash, sweet potatoes. Fun Fact: Calcium absorption decreases with age.
Potassium: Rich sources include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, tomato products, soybeans, lima beans, spinach. lentils, acorn squash, and kohlrabi!
Vitamin D: Few foods naturally contain Vitamin D. Our primary food sources are those that have been fortified, yogurt, milk, cheese, cereals, and juices. Mushrooms are one of the only vegetable sources we have in our diet. Other primary sources include sunlight, fatty fish, egg yolk, beef liver, sardines. Fun Fact: Vitamin D enhances calcium absorption.
Dietary Fiber: Acorn squash, collard greens, butternut squash, kale, broccoli, carrots, spinach, beet greens, Brussels sprouts, green beans, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, and baked potatoes. Women (19-50 yo) should aim for 25g/day, and men (19-50 yo) 38g/day, women 50+ aim for 21g/day, and men 50+ aim for 30g/day.
Our CSA share provides a mixture of nutrients; even one additional vegetable to your daily intake makes a difference!
Have a happy season!