Welcome to Badges: Veggies

Welcome to Badges: Veggies
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

Daily minimum for a green badge: 231 grams (about 3 cups raw or 1.5 cups cooked)

Meal minimum for a green badge: 79 grams (about 1 cup raw)

Why are veggies so great?

Why aren’t they great? Name a reason why you are using Lark, and vegetables can probably help with that. Lowering risk for heart disease and cancer? Yes. Lowering blood pressure? Yes. Lowering blood sugar if you have prediabetes or diabetes, and lowering risk for diabetes? Yes. Helping with weight loss? Yes.

Vegetables are the ideal food group in many ways. Packed with nutrients such as potassium, fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, they are lower in sodium, fat, and calories. For example, a cup of lettuce has about 7 calories, and a cup of Brussels sprouts has 55. That means you can load up your plate, get full, and stay within your calorie limits.

Which vegetables count?

All types of vegetables count towards your vegetable intake. These are just a few.

  • Green: broccoli, spinach, lettuce, zucchini, green peppers, kale, collard and mustard greens, celery, Brussels sprouts, okra, swiss chard, artichokes, turnips, rutabaga
  • Orange and yellow: carrots, yellow pepper, yellow squash
  • Red: tomatoes, red peppers, radishes
  • White: cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, mung bean sprouts, turnips, cucumbers
  • And more: eggplant, beet root
  • Starchy vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet peas, corn, winter squash

Tips for getting more health value and green badges for vegetables

  • Most meals can include one or more servings of vegetables.
  • A range of colors means a range of nutrients. 
  • Vegetables make great side dishes, cooked or as side salads.
  • Raw vegetables can make great sandwich toppings or snacks on their own or with dips.
  • There is almost always room for more vegetables in casseroles, soups, and sauces.
  • Non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and can be great for filling your plate and stomach. 
  • Starchy vegetables are higher in calories and a serving size is about a half-cup.
  • Cooking vegetables in creamy and cheesy sauces, and dipping them in creamy dips, increases fat and calorie content.
  • Smoothies can be a tool to increase vegetable consumption and variety, but they tend to be higher in calories and less filling than whole vegetables.
  • Vegetable-based dishes can include stir fries, soups, salads, and vegetable kabobs.

Ideas for using vegetables.

  • Stuffed eggplant with low-fat ricotta, spinach, and garlic, topped with tomato sauce.
  • Baked tomatoes with basil, mozzarella, and crushed Cheerios or nuts.
  • Stuffed cabbage leaves with onions, zucchini, and soy protein or extra lean ground turkey
  • Sandwich on cooked sweet potato slices instead of bread.
  • Stir fry with your choice of vegetables plus chicken, shimp, fish, or tofu.
  • Zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash with olive oil, basil, parmesan, and asparagus.
  • Whole-grain penne, spaghetti, or other pasta in a casserole with tomato sauce, mushrooms, bell peppers, and mozzarella cheese.