A dietitian's favorite vegetables

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Vegetables deliver nutrients without a lot of calories. Dawn Jackson Blatner of the American Dietetic Association shares tips on incorporating her five favorites in your diet:

-- Artichokes. They're in season, and they have more antioxidants than any other vegetable, Blatner says. You can steam them or buy them canned in water. Rinse and drain, then use in an omelet, puree for a sandwich spread, or mix with white beans, tomatoes, basil and whole-grain pasta for dinner.

-- Kale. This leafy green contains vitamins A, C and E, plus iron and Vitamin K (good for your blood) and calcium and magnesium (for bone health). Sautee with garlic in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

-- Carrots. Sick of baby carrots? Buy whole ones and shred them for a stir-fry or pita stuffing. Try mixing shredded carrots with raisins and light honey-mustard dressing. Like all orange vegetables, carrots are rich in antioxidants.

-- Red bell peppers. Sweet and brimming with Vitamin C (more than in an orange!), these add color to salads and veggie trays. You can also stuff and bake them or use them in stir-fries.

-- Black beans. Yes, they count as vegetables, Blatner says. They're high in fiber and antioxidants (in their dark skins). Rinse and drain canned beans to remove 40 percent of the sodium. Use in taco salads, wrap in tortillas for bean burritos (add scrambled egg for a breakfast burrito), or puree to make a dip.

-- J.L.H.

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