Types of Vegetables

picture of an artichoke

Vegetables, the food source either loved, hated or tolerated by people and animals around the world, are a necessary ingredient in a balanced and healthy diet.

Discussions about their relative nutritional value generally begin by organizing them into five different groups.

  • Dark green vegetables: Green power rules in the vegetable world. A general nutrition rule of thumb reminds us that greener is better. Dark green vegetables, offer higher concentrations of vitamins (especially vitamins A and C) and minerals (especially iron and calcium) that other vegetable groups. Green vegetables are also a good source of fiber. The dark green vegetables come in a variety of forms, from the leaf like look of romain lettuce, and spinach, to the plant like look of broccoli and collard greens.
  • Orange vegetables: Many people think fall when they think orange vegetables because of the abundance of squash, pumpkin and sweet potatoes available during the season. The orange group, which also includes carrots, provide beta carotene, along with vitamins A and C. Contrary to popular opinion, eating foods with high beta carotene content does not improve eye sight. It's more accurate to suggest that eating these foods helps maintain your current level of eye sight and health.
  • Dry beans and peas - This group of vegetables are best known for their protein and fiber content, however it is important to note that a balanced diet means combining beans with grains. Garbanzo Beans or chickpeas rank as the most popular members of the group.
  • Starchy vegetables - Depending on how the story unfolds, starchy vegetables, like potatoes and corn, often get a bad rap, based primarily on their higher carbohydrate content than other vegetables. In and of themselves, carbohydrates, especially the complex carbohydrates associated with starchy vegetables, are a necessary ingredient for a well balanced diet. While the vitamin and mineral content of starchy vegetables generally ranks below that of their non-starchy counterparts, they do provide some nutrition value.
  • Other vegetables - Celery, zucchini, iceberg lettuce, onions and other popular vegetables often get placed into the catchall other category. While they do not contain the vitamin and mineral content of the green and orange vegetables, they are still an important source of nutrition. Because their taste and texture blends well with a variety of other foods, perhaps complimentary vegetables would be a better category name.

Nutrition experts suggest eating two and one-half cups of vegetables per day, divided among all the vegetable groups. All great cooks know there exist multiple ways to prepare vegetables that appeal to a wide array of pallets. Serving raw vegetables with a dip of one type or another satisfies many a party goer. Roasted, baked, boils and microwaved vegetables cooked in sauces from the stand by cheese sauces to vinaigrettes sell in households around the world.

Today represents the best time to get started on regularly serving vegetables during meal time and snack time.

Vegetable Clip Art

clip art image of broccoli clip art image of celery clip art image of potatoes clip art image of carrots

© 2009-2014 Patricia A. Michaels