Body + Soul: Veggies and Grains
November 27, 2013By Shari Grant

Happy Thanksgiving to all! In honor of Turkey Day, let’s break down each food group a bit.  It can be a bit overwhelming to:  A) take in all this info and B) try and squeeze all the food groups into our diets.  But it can be done!!  Let’s take a closer look at Veggies and Grains.


Veggies (should make up half your plate!)

According to the USDA, diets high in veggies and fruits can reduce incidence of chronic diseases and health conditions such as heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), heart attacks, obesity, diabetes and strokes, and some types of cancers.  Vegetables are a great source of nutrients like potassium, fiber, vitamins A and C, and folic acid which are connected to energy, bowel regularity, and our immune system.  Vitamins A and C are important for eye and skin health and the body’s iron absorption.


Tips and Tricks to Including Veggies


·         Frozen Vegetables!  Many of us are usually pretty busy, so keeping frozen veggies on hand is uber-helpful!  They are for me J

·         Canned veggies can make life a little easier too.  If this is your preference, try to stick to cans that read “reduced” or “low sodium.”

·         If you prefer your veggies to be cooked, be sure not to overcook them.  When we do that, we lose a lot of the reason why we eat them in the first place.

·         Making a stew? Use pureed or cooked veggies like potatoes.

·         If you are craving pizza, load it with veggies (mushrooms, green peppers, etc.  If you live in Miami, I know a great Kosher pizzeria with the best veggie pizzas, promise!)




Foods containing whole grain seem to be pretty helpful weight management, making you feel full for a longer period of time.  The fiber in whole grains also keeps you regular, reducing constipation and issues such as diverticulosis.  If you are or have ever been pregnant, you’ve probably heard of “folic acid” and/or “folate.” Found in grains, folate before and during pregnancy aides in preventing neural tube defects, like spina bifida, during fetal development.  Folate can also help in the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen around in our bodies.  Magnesium is a mineral that can be found in whole grains, as well.  It is used in bone-building and releasing energy from muscles. 


Tips and Tricks to Including Whole Grains


·         In flour-based recipes (pancakes, waffles, or for the Caribbean folks, dumplings), try using whole wheat flour instead of white.

·         Need snacks on the go?  Try popcorn or whole grain cereals instead of junk food.  Put it in a ziplock bag and drop it in your book bag, purse, or briefcase before heading out.

·         Cooking something and need a “binder,” like breadcrumbs?  Use whole-grain bread or cracker crumbs.


Thanksgiving is here! I will be sure to thoroughly stuff myself, but, scout’s honor, I will try my very best to include all my food groups! (okay, okay…I won’t overeat ;)



Shari Grant is a Registered Nurse in South Florida, where she was raised in a (very!) Jamaican home. Some of the loves of her life are words (both reading and writing them) and missions work. She enjoys spending time with friends and family while living for a good laugh - one that makes her belly ache and her eyes water. Her bottom line goal in life is to make the Lord smile and maybe even serve Him up a chuckle from time to time, too.


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