AMES, Iowa – Have you ever been told to eat your vegetables? If so, you've received good advice. Vegetable gardening provides a sense of pride associated with putting food on your table. In addition, there is nothing like the taste of fresh picked vegetables.
In this week’s edition of the Sow, Grow, Eat and Keep video series by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, horticulture and nutrition and wellness experts take a look at cool and warm season vegetables.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends adults consume two to three cups of vegetables per day. Unfortunately, only 9% of adults and teenagers eat the recommended amount of vegetables each day. Vegetable intake among those with limited incomes is even lower, with just 7% eating the recommended intake.
Vegetables have numerous health benefits. Eating a diet rich in vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet can help protect against a number of serious and costly chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity. Vegetables also provide important vitamins and minerals that help the human body work as it should and fight off illness and disease.
The variety of flavors and textures experienced by eating vegetables is unsurpassed. ‘Eating the rainbow’ allows you to experience the variety of vegetables available while also benefiting from all the nutrients provided by vegetables. Each color of vegetable provides unique nutrients needed for optimal health. One might try to eat the rainbow every day, or concentrate on one color of the rainbow each day of the week. To learn more about how to plant vegetables and the numerous health benefits they offer, watch the latest quickinar video.
If you or someone you know is having trouble affording food or accessing food, there are resources available. The Iowa Food Assistance program provides support to households to increase access to nutritious foods. Food Assistance can be used to buy any foods and nonalcoholic beverages that are sold to be eaten at home. You also can buy plants and seeds to grow food. To apply, call the Iowa Food Assistance Hotline, 855-944-FOOD (3663).
For those interested in learning more about gardening, contact your ISU Extension and Outreach county office for information about the Master Gardener program. Training begins across the state this fall.
The Sow, Grow, Eat and Keep quickinars are 5-15 minute online lessons of seasonally appropriate topics for the garden, food preparation and food preservation. Some of the upcoming topics include:
- Freezing produce.
- Freezer jams (strawberry).
- Peas, broccoli, cauliflower.
- Scouting for garden pests.
- Pollinators-Sweet corn.
- Weeding and watering basics.
- Produce food safety.
- Canning produce.
Original photo: Tomatoes in hand.