Teach Patients How to Cook with Vegetables

I was talking to one of my patients about the need to put more vegetables into her diet and mentioned that cooking eggplant would probably be a good idea. The patient had never cooked eggplant before and had no idea how to do it.
That is when I realized that I had to do more than just tell people to eat more vegetables. My patients that did try to eat more vegetables would rely on only one or two kinds, and they got bored with it, so they stopped. They were unaware of the variety of vegetables available and how to prepare them.
With more knowledge about what kinds of vegetables to select and how to cook them, I believe more of my patients would comply with my prescription that they eat more vegetables.
That’s why I started the “Great American Produce Giveaway” promotion in my office. I bought a bushel of squash, then gave my patients a squash in a brown paper bag along with instructions on how to cook it. Different types of vegetables were given away regularly when patients visited the office. It resulted in more patients eating a greater variety of vegetables. Patients reported back that this was the jump start they needed to improve their nutrition and health.
Of course, we had to give them really specific recommendations. We have to realize we are living in a new era of an undereducated and underinformed public when it comes to nutrition. With that in mind, here are a few tips on getting more vegetables into your diet:
• Snack with veggies and fruit. Instead of chips or cookies, have healthy alternatives around the house like baby carrots and hummus, celery and peanut butter, or a piece of fruit. And leave these healthy snacks in plain sight. You are more likely to snack on fruits and veggies if they are on the counter instead of tucked away in the cupboard.
• Make soup. Homemade soups can be a great way to increase your vegetable intake.
• Try a new fruit or vegetable each week. Experiment and find interesting recipes for each week’s selection.
• Make vegetable kabobs. Grill colorful kabobs packed with tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms, and onions.
Many of my patients have enjoyed learning more about vegetables and how to cook them. Everybody knows they should eat more vegetables, but a surprising amount of people don’t know how to prepare those vegetables with a meal. But with a little research on the internet or with a cookbook, preparing vegetables can be fun, tasty, and easy. 

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