Health & Well-Being

Powerhouse Veggies to Include in Your Diet—And Easy Ways to Enjoy Them

Veggies are vital to our health, but not all vegetables are created equal. Each one has a unique combination of nutrients and benefits, but some are a veritable powerhouse of nutrition.

If you’re not a big vegetable fan, get adventurous and try a wider variety. When prepared the right way for your taste, you’ll enjoy them more. If those vegetables are some of these all-stars, it’s a bonus.

• Butternut squash. This winter squash has an excellent amount of vitamin A: Four times the recommended daily allowance (RDA). It also contains double the RDA of vitamin C and packs more potassium than a banana.

Cut the squash in half and remove all the seeds. Fill a glass baking dish about 3/4″ high with water, place the squash pieces with the skin facing up, and bake at 400 degrees for one hour. Allow the squash to cool enough to handle it, then scoop it out of the peel and top with butter. If that doesn’t suffice, try adding a touch of brown sugar.

• Kale. This dark green leaf packs 684% of the RDA of vitamin K and well over the RDA of vitamins A and B6.

If you like salad, add a mix of kale to the lettuce. Kale also makes a great addition to smoothies.

• Sweet potatoes. Vitamins A, B5, B6, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, and carotenoids are their nutritional makeup.

Thanksgiving isn’t the only time of year you can eat them. Sweet potatoes make yummy French fries, which can be baked rather than fried.

• Peas. These contain a long list of nutrients, but peas are very high in vitamins B1, C, and K, as well as manganese, copper, phosphorus, and folate.

Add peas to a variety of soups, stews, and casseroles. Another tasty option? Add them to macaroni and cheese.

• Bell peppers. Red, orange, yellow, or green bell peppers are nutritious, whatever the color. All are high in vitamin C, with red bell peppers containing 169% of the RDA. They’re also high in vitamin A and carry many other nutrients.

Try bell pepper slices with your dip of choice. Bell peppers are also great on pizza and hot sandwiches.

• Brussels sprouts. This veggie is known for its Vitamins K and C. But Brussels sprouts provide numerous other nutrients as well.

But Brussels sprouts don’t have a tasty reputation. Try what one mom, Monica Kass Rogers, did in “How I Got My Kid to Eat Brussels Sprouts”: Cut them in half and stir-fry them in sesame oil with other vegetables. Or roast them with olive oil and salt. If kids can learn to love them, so can you.

• Asparagus. Asparagus contains 60% of the RDA of folic acid. But it also includes a healthy amount of vitamins K and C and several other essential nutrients.

Grilled asparagus is a tasty side dish. Before grilling, brush the asparagus lightly with olive oil, then add salt and pepper. Place the spears on the grill for 10 minutes, turn them, and give them a few more minutes until they’re lightly blackened.

• Spinach. Spinach contains 987% of the RDA of vitamin K. Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, and several other nutrients.

Add spinach to both smoothies and pizza. Spinach quiche and spinach pie are also popular dishes.

• Broccoli. Here’s another vegetable that’s a rich source of vitamin K, packing 245% of the RDA. Broccoli also exceeds the RDA for vitamin C and is an excellent source of chromium, folate, and fiber.

Mix broccoli into almost any cheesy dish, and it’s easy to gobble up. Broccoli cheese soup and other cheesy pasta dishes with broccoli added are good options.

• Avocado. Although not a powerhouse of any specific vitamin or mineral, avocado still carries an adequate amount. But avocados are an excellent source of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat —healthy fats. It’s a perfect replacement for unhealthy fats.

Guacamole is an all-time favorite. Avocado is also tasty mixed with egg salad or a tossed salad or used instead of mayonnaise.

• Pumpkin (canned). Pumpkin is an outstanding source of vitamin A, containing 2.5 times the RDA, not to mention a fair amount of a host of other vitamins and minerals.

The next time you’re in the mood to bake, make something with a bit of added nutritional value, like pumpkin bread, cookies, cheesecake, and of course, pumpkin pie.

• Scallions. Also known as spring onions, these pack 172% of the RDA of vitamin K. They’re also known for their antioxidants and are a good source of vitamin A.

Grill scallions just like asparagus. Brush them with oil, add salt and pepper, then toss them on the grill until they are light brown.

Healthy eating!


Kimberly Blaker

Kimberly Blaker is a freelance writer. She also owns an online bookshop, Sage Rare & Collectible Books, specializing in out-of-print, scarce, signed, and first editions; fine bindings; ephemera and more at

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