By Eliza Short, RD, Communications Coordinator for Jackson In Action
Most Americans do not eat the recommended number of 5 vegetable servings each day. For reference, one serving is equivalent to ½ cup of cooked or chopped vegetables and 1 cup of greens. We all should aim to eat a variety of vegetables from all of the vegetable subgroups of dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other (including fresh, frozen, and canned varieties). Now why should we do this? Vegetables have a slew of health benefits, including blood sugar control, heart health, weight management, among others! By building your meal around vegetables, rather than having the emphasis on meat (which many of us are guilty of!), one may decrease their risk of long-term health conditions.
One meal that can provide a variety of tasty vegetables is a stir fry! Read below on steps to create an assortment of different stir fry recipes. After reading through these steps, you may want to take a look of vegetables you already have on hand and create your own stir fry recipe today!
Step 1: What vegetables do I have already, and what vegetables should I obtain? You can use almost any vegetable you want in a stir fry; AND you get extra health benefits the more colorful your recipe is! See some ideas below:
- Kohlrabi: First peel the kohlrabi, then chop into long/thin slices, about the thickness of a pencil.
- Carrots: Chop into thin strips. Minimize waste by scrubbing the outside of your carrots rather than peeling them!
- Broccoli: Chop the florets into bite sized pieces. Minimize waste by using the stalks of the broccoli (peel the stalk and slice into small, thin strips).
- Garlic and onion: Adds a strong flavor, allowing you to use less salt in your recipe.
- Greens: Spinach, swiss chard, kale, or any green can be chopped and added for additional vitamins and minerals.
- Ginger: Store ginger in your freezer and take it out about 10 minutes before you plan to chop it. This makes it much easier to peel and dice!
- Green beans: Canned, frozen, or fresh are all options to include!
- Water chestnut: Packed with vitamin C!
- Bell Pepper: Slice the bell pepper into strips. You can add a variety of colors to your stir fry with this tasty vegetable!
- Mushrooms: Packed with Vitamin D!
- Corn: Canned, frozen, or fresh!
- Sweet potato: Dice the sweet potato into small pieces (you can first steam the diced potatoes in the microwave to soften them up before adding to the stir fry)
- Anything else you have in your cupboard, fridge, or freezer!
Step 2: Choose your protein (or multiple!)
- Edamame: a nutrient-packed soy protein
- Beans: Chickpeas, black beans, white beans, pinto beans, among others! These offer a variety of health benefits, including being packed with fiber to help you stay full longer!
- Chicken: Try dicing chicken in small pieces and sauté with ginger and garlic!
- Beef/Pork: These red meats are higher in saturated (solid) fat than chicken, so look for lean cuts (loin, round) and use sparingly
- Tofu: another great soy protein- stir fry tofu in olive oil separately (until golden brown on all sides) and later add to your stir fry
- Seafood: Offers omega-3 fats which are important for heart health!
- Lentils: add extra protein and take on the flavor of your stir fry sauce
Step 3: Choose your grain (use whole-grains for added benefits of fiber)!
- Wild rice
- Brown rice
- Brown rice noodles
- Whole wheat pasta
Step 4: Choose a sauce recipe (or make up your own!) Caution: some sauces are high in salt and sugar, so use in moderation!
- Plain and simple: Olive oil, salt, and pepper (add ginger and garlic for extra flavor)
- ½ cup soy sauce mixed with ¼ cup brown sugar and 1 tsp ginger powder (or fresh ginger)
- ½ cup chicken stock, 2 T soy sauce, 1 T rice wine vinegar, 2 tsp sesame oil
- 4 T oyster sauce, 1 T honey or white sugar (may need to add a few tablespoons of water)
- Your favorite sauce!
Step 5: Put it all together and enjoy your vegetable and protein packed meal!
On Thursday, June 21st, from 11:30am-12:30pm, join Registered Dietitian Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RDN, CD, at Black River Memorial Hospital for a Harvest of the Month recipe demonstration featuring sautéed kohlrabi with onions and garlic. Taste tests and recipes will be provided.