Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the Vegetable Group. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, or mashed.
Based on their nutrient content, vegetables are organized into 5 subgroups: dark-green vegetables, starchy vegetables, red and orange vegetables, beans and peas, and other vegetables.
Fresh vegetables are delicious and affordable when purchased in season.
Here is a chart from DC’s State Superintendent of Education so you know which vegetables are in season.
Make a colorful plate
Variety is important when choosing vegetables to make sure you get all the nutrients you need. Try to eat vegetables from all 5 subgroups weekly. Here are some ideas for trying vegetables in each category.
Benefits to this group include being a rich source of vitamin A, C, E, and K. They are protective against certain cancers and promote heath health. They have high levels of fiber, iron, and magnesium. They are low in carbohydrates and cholesterol.
- Broccoli, collard greens, kale, spinach, romaine, endive
This group is high in vitamin A, C, and potassium. This is helps our eyes and bones. They also provide a boost to our immune system to keep us healthy and regulate blood pressure.
- Carrots, pumpkin, red peppers, tomatoes, tomato juice, sweet potato, winter squash
This group is full or fiber that helps regulate digestion and makes us feel fuller for longer. They are also full of potassium which helps with bone and heart health.
- Corn, white potatoes, green peas
These plants belong to both the vegetable and protein groups. They provide protein as well as nutrients like iron and zinc.
- Black-eyed peas, split peas, black beans, lentils, and chickpeas
Adding any kind of vegetable to your diet is a great, low calorie way to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function. Having a variety from all groups can boost your health.
- Cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, green beans, green peppers, iceberg lettuce, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, summer squash