Dr. Oz recently asked his fans to play a prank. The hoax: Tell a loved one they’d be joining you on a one-year kale-only diet. Kale, kale, and more kale.
Funny, but some people sort of do become singularly focused on certain veggies, eating a lot of kale, or broccoli, or spinach, and not much of anything else. We were curious: What type of variety should we be aiming for when it comes to produce?
“The vegetable group has five subgroups each having a unique nutrient profile,” says Mary Hartley, RD, our resident nutrition expert who has a private practice in New York City. Who knew? Mary did. She says that’s why Choose My Plate, the US government’s nutrition website advises us to “vary your veggies” because no one vegetable meets all of our needs.
So what are the 5 types of veggies? Here’s an overview, complete with delicious recipes to try for each:
1. Dried beans, including split peas and lentils. We love this hearty lentil soup, which also contains a ton of other types of veggies (tomatoes, celery, onion, carrots…)
2. Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and broccoli. Remember this yummy (and low-cal) chicken Caesar salad? The recipe calls for kale plus other spring greens!
3. Red and orange vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. This type of vegetable is great for roasting, but it’s also good for baking. Check out these oatmeal sandwich cookies,which use carrots as a natural sweetener!
4. Starchy vegetables including corn, green peas, and potatoes. Wait, fries are part of a healthy diet? They can be, so long as you do them right, like with this recipe for baked Sriracha oven fries. Spicy!
5. All other vegetables such as onions, celery, and peppers. So much flavor in this category! Almost any savory recipe you try will have some of these in it, but one of our go-tos is slow cooker Mexican-style stuffed peppers.