Practical advice on how to eat more vegetables and be healthier

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Every Monday we find the nutrition chronicle of Dr. Binetou Cheikh Seck, nutritionist-nutritionist at the Cabinet dietetic nutridéal in Dakar, Senegal.

Why is it important to eat enough vegetables?

Let’s start with some examples of vegetables: carrots, cabbage, eggplant, pumpkin, turnip, African eggplant, okra, etc.

attention : potatoes, cassava and corn are not vegetables but starches.

Vegetables are a family of staple foods as they are sources of essential vitamins and minerals. They are also a source of antioxidants that help protect us from many diseases, fiber that provides satiety and prevents constipation, and water. Vegetables give us all these good things without being high in calories, which means we can eat lots of vegetables without the risk of gaining weight.

But most of us don’t eat enough vegetables and it doesn’t get better…

In Africa and everywhere else in the world we see that the consumption of vegetables has declined and continues to decline, this is one of the reasons why chronic diseases are more prevalent. I have a hard time getting my patients to eat enough vegetables. Yet we should eat more vegetables on our plate than starches and meat at every meal.

What are your practical tips for enriching our diet with vegetables?

  1. Systematically prepare vegetables for each mealeven with dishes that traditionally do not contain it (for example: Yasa from Senegal or seed sauce in Côte d’Ivoire).
  2. Vary the type of vegetablesto avoid monotony and therefore disgust
  3. Vary the preparation : there are many ways to prepare vegetables. You should even look up recipes on the Internet: vegetables in sauce, raw vegetables, vegetable soup, vegetable puree, vegetable gratins, etc.
  4. You need to prepare well-seasoned vegetables with garlic, onion, parsley, green onion, spices, aromatic herbs.
  5. You should limit the cooking time of the vegetables to a maximum of 15 minutes, so that they retain their texture, their taste and above all their nutritional value.
  6. When eating, if the vegetables do not pass by themselves, they must be mixed with the starches of the dishfor example, mix rice and mixed vegetables.

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