Make Meals Out Of Fresh Produce: Vegetables, legumes and sprouts are rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Make full meals out of them, or pile them up in your pasta.

Think of these vegetables as part of your essential food kit. Keep this list on hand when you go shopping, and when you’re planning your meals.

Broccoli. High in vitamins C, K, and A. Has proven antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-cancer properties.

Cauliflower. In addition to having most of the benefits of broccoli, it has been shown in some studies to decrease the risk of breast and prostate cancer.

Carrots. Rich in antioxidants, dietary fiber and minerals. And most importantly, extremely high in Vitamin A, which is absolutely essential to healthy eyesight.

Green Peas. High in vitamins K and B6. A great source of folic acid. Have been shown to build strong bones.

Tomatoes. (Botanically, tomatoes are actually fruits, but they are classified nutritionally as vegetables.) A great source of vitamin C and A, they also contain high amounts of lycopene – one of the most potent natural antioxidants. Studies suggest they support the skin’s natural protection against ultraviolet rays.

Sweet Potatoes. Packed with protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamin A, and minerals. One of the best foods to get stuck with on a desert island.

Garlic. A powerful antibiotic and anti-inflammatory, used in many folk traditions as an immune-booster and expectorant. Plus it’s an essential flavor in every kitchen.

Onions. High in antioxidants and quercetin, they are often used as a home remedy to cure sore throats. Some studies indicate that they may help prevent osteoporosis.

Leafy Green Vegetables. Think kale, chard, collard greens, spinach, parsley and dark green and red leaf lettuce. The specifics differ slightly among varieties, but most leafy green vegetables are rich in, well, everything, including Vitamins C, E, K, A, B2, B6 and B9 for starters. They are also significant sources of protein, magnesium, folate, iron, zinc, niacin, and selenium. Incorporate them into your meal plan every day if possible.

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