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Vegetables: The Healthier Snack

.The easiest place to affect our health is through our eating habits; in fact it’s the most effective solution to better health, sharing the spotlight with exercise.  What about our food intake?  What choices do we have to make eating a healthier occurrence?

Vegetables are a great place to start.  There are so many choices in the filed of vegetables, being picky isn’t even a problem here. It does not matter where your location, the time of the year, or the method of preparation, there are vegetables to suit the most discriminating taste.

As a teen, most of us don’t even care if we’re eating right, or begin to understand the implications of poor eating habits.  As we age, however, we do begin to notice the effects of improper exercise, poor eating habits, and how they affect our health.  Today, as the baby boomers begin their retirement years, health concerns and questions are on the rise.  These aging boomers are more concerned than any previous generations about their good health, their ability to keep their good health, and how their diet affects their health.

We all love to snack. And there is nothing wrong with snacking, as long as we are choosing the right foods to snack on!

The choices in vegetables run the gamut in color preference, leafy versus bean, fresh and raw, or freshly picked and cooked.  There are vegetables high in beta-carotene, high in flavonoids, anti-oxidants, or just plain high in flavor.

What about as a snack?  Do vegetables meet the snack requirement for taste?  We already know that vegetables are good for us, but if we’re going to snack, we want something that tastes really good.

There are vegetables that fill that bill, quite successfully.  What about celery?  Celery with pimento or peanut butter is quite delicious.  Or, you have the broccoli and cauliflower combination with ranch dip.  That’s a snack that any other snack would be hard pressed to surpass.

Then you have the dill pickle.  This is such a successful snack that manufacturer’s put it in little plastic bags with juice and sell it.  The dill pickle can be found in convenience stores everywhere.  Past the pickle, you have carrots, sweet potatoes, and onions.  These wonderful vegetables can be fixed in so many different ways to snack on, that it would take several papers to touch on all the possibilities.

One of a southerner’s favorite snacks would be baked sweet potato.  Now, this is normally consumed with large amounts of butter, but doesn’t have to be, in order to be good.  The baked sweet potato can simply be peeled and eaten straight from the oven and it’s still delicious.

Onions can be fried whole as blooming onions, or cut into rings, battered, and served with dip as a snack or appetizer.  Many restaurants carry them as a staple on their menus.  Jalapeno peppers are often stuffed with cheese and served in this way.

Then you have the little carrot.  This wonderful little finger food is full of beta-carotene, flavonoids, and anti-oxidants that make it one of the most healthful snacks we can consume.

Cucumbers, watery and so fresh tasting! These are great all on their own- or with a little dip or even vinegar. Cucumbers are low in calories but high in many important vitamins and minerals.

Don’t forget those peppers. How about green peppers? Green peppers are a very powerful antioxidant and are rich in vitamin C, B1, B2, E, P, and K vitamins,

You should have enough options now for snacking, that healthful snacking can become a standard, not an exception for you.  These ideas do not by any means encompass all vegetable options; these are just simply the most personal favorites of mine 🙂

Explore your veggies- there are so many tasty ones out there to enjoy, be creative and never feel guilty about snacking!

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