You know vegetables are good for you, but which are REALLY good for you? Do you know what the most nutritious vegetables are?
Eating the most nutritious vegetables on a daily basis is more beneficial than you may think for your body and overall health!
Consuming veggies is an excellent way to drop unwanted pounds, stay slim and trim, and meet your body's daily nutritional needs.
While all vegetables are healthy, these 10 top the list as being the most nutritious vegetables of all time!
Learn how to properly portion your meals with the Perfect Plate!
The 10 Most Nutritious Vegetables
Leafy greens, such as spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, and kale, are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
They're also very low in calories, containing less than 10 calories per cup, and are healthy for your heart by improving blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels when consumed as part of an overall nutritious eating plan.
Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, beta carotene, and lutein.
Kale is packed with vitamins B, C, A, and K, as well as potassium, copper, and calcium.
Swiss chard is loaded with magnesium, manganese, and vitamins C, A, and K.
It also contains antioxidants and plant compounds.
Collard greens are a good source of calcium, antioxidants, and, of course, fiber!
Fill half of your plate of food with leafy greens topped with other vegetables, seeds, avocadoes, or other salad toppings of your choice, along with an oil-based dressing (free from added sugar).
You might cook leafy greens, add them to your favorite nutrient-dense smoothies, or add them to sandwiches!
Need more leafy-green inspiration? Check out these delicious kale recipes!
Sweet potatoes are starchy vegetables, so they fill you up for more extended time periods and give you energy.
Sweet potatoes are excellent sources of vitamin A, fiber, some protein, beta carotene, potassium, manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.
When adding sweet potatoes to your meal plan, count them as starch.
Fill one-fourth of each plate of food with starches.
Bake or grill sweet potatoes, roast them in olive oil, or mash them up with your favorite seasonings!
You can also add sweet potatoes to soups, salads, or even pancakes!
Peas are some of the most nutritious vegetables for a unique reason.
In addition to being loaded with fiber and micronutrients, peas are a high-protein food, containing 8 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber in each cup!
Green peas are a good source of vitamins K, A, C, and B vitamins.
They also contain cancer-fighting plant compounds.
Peas are a starch, which means you can count them as such when using the Perfect Plate for planning nutritious menus.
Eat cooked peas with salt and pepper or in salads, soups, stir fry, or casseroles.
Like peas, lentils are also packed with fiber, protein, starch, vitamins, and minerals.
They're rich in magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, phosphorous, and B vitamins.
And lentils contain nearly 18 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber in each 1-cup serving!
There are many ways you can add lentils to a nutritious meal plan.
Cook them with your favorite seasonings, or add lentils to rice, quinoa, soups, salads, or veggie burgers!
Red Bell Peppers
While low in calories, red bell peppers are loaded with fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
In fact, they contain over 100% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin C and nearly half of your DV for vitamin A.
Vitamin A is vital for healthy eyesight, and vitamin C gives your immune system a boost.
Red bell peppers are also a source of potassium, folate, magnesium, and other essential micronutrients.
Dip red bell peppers (or any kind of bell peppers) in hummus, drizzle them with your favorite oil-based dressing, grill them, add peppers to veggie kabobs, or eat them in your favorite vegetable salad or sandwich!
You might also sauté bell peppers as a side dish or add them to stir fry.
It's likely no surprise that broccoli makes the list of the most nutritious vegetables, as you probably know broccoli is superior for your diet and overall health.
Broccoli is a non-starchy vegetable that's low in calories, but it's loaded with cancer-fighting plant compounds, vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and folate.
Eat cooked broccoli with your favorite seasonings, dip fresh broccoli in hummus, grill it, sauté broccoli in olive oil, or add it to salads and stir fry.
You might also mix powdered broccoli in your favorite protein shakes or smoothies!
Beets make the list of the most nutritious vegetables for many reasons.
This colorful vegetable is packed with fiber, manganese, folate, copper, potassium, and magnesium.
Beets are also an excellent source of nitrates, substances your body converts to nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide helps dilates blood vessels, reduce blood pressure, and promote improvements in athletic performance.
Eat beets in salads, coleslaw, soups, hummus, sandwiches, or as a pickled side dish to increase the nutritional and nitrate content of your meal.
You might add powdered beets to your favorite protein shake or smoothie!
Brussels sprouts are some of the most nutritious vegetables for a variety of reasons.
They contain disease-fighting antioxidants and plant compounds, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and vitamins K, A, B6, and C.
Roast, grill, or sauté Brussel sprouts and eat them in soups, salads, veggie kabobs, or stir fry.
The possibilities are endless!
Red cabbage contains more than half of your daily value for vitamin C.
It's also rich in vitamin K, fiber, folate, and disease-fighting plant compounds called anthocyanins.
Cabbage is also low in calories, so it aids in healthy weight management.
Eat red cabbage in soups, salads, coleslaw, or other favorite side dishes to increase the number of vegetable servings you eat daily.
Asparagus completes the list of the most nutritious vegetables, as it's low in calories but rich in fiber, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, B vitamins, and vitamin K.
It makes the perfect addition to any healthy meal plan for you and your family!
Sauté asparagus in olive oil, grill it, or eat asparagus in salads, soups, sandwiches, or stir fry.
Ways to Eat the Most Nutritious Vegetables
The best way to consume recommended amounts of the most nutritious vegetables is to use the Perfect Plate when planning healthy menus.
Using this method, fill half of each plate of food with non-starchy vegetables, such as cucumbers, asparagus, leafy greens, broccoli, beets, Brussels sprouts, or other non-starchy vegetables.
Fill one-fourth of your plate of food with protein foods (chicken, turkey, eggs, seafood, tofu, etc.).
Fill the other one-fourth of each plate with starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, corn, peas, beans, lentils, or other legumes), brown rice, quinoa, or additional whole grains — plus healthy fats!
Examples of nutritious fats to choose from include olive oil, avocado oil, other plant oils, nuts, seeds, nut butter, and avocados.
Add in three servings of dairy foods and about two servings of fruits daily to complete your healthy meal plan!
Some of the best ways to eat the most nutritious vegetables are to:
- Grill vegetables
- Sauté vegetables in olive oil
- Steam vegetables and add your favorite seasonings
- Eat veggies in salads topped with oil-based salad dressing (without added sugar)
- Add vegetables to quinoa or pasta dishes
- Add vegetables to soups
- Eat vegetables in stir fry
- Make veggie burgers
- Add sliced vegetables to sandwiches
- Eat veggies in coleslaw
- Pickle your vegetables
- Eat dried veggies
- Add vegetable powder to protein shakes or smoothies
Aim to cook veggies in plant-based oils (or tub butter mixed with plant oil) instead of regular butter.
Recipes Containing the Most Nutritious Vegetables
Try the recipes below that enhance the flavor and texture of the most nutritious vegetables!
Oven Roasted Vegetables
Add your favorite vegetables to a flavorful roasted vegetable recipe to increase the fiber and nutritional content of your menus!
- 1 medium head of cauliflower
- 1 crown of broccoli
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 red pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons of Old Bay seasoning
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Spread the vegetables evenly onto each sheet.
- Drizzle the veggies with olive oil and seasonings.
- Mix them with your hands until the vegetables are evenly coated.
- Place the veggies in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the pans from the oven, rotate them, and roast the vegetables for another 10 minutes until tender and lightly browned.
- Place the vegetables in a serving bowl and enjoy!
Delicious Sauteed Vegetables
Sautéing veggies is another delicious way to enjoy the most nutritious vegetables!
- 2 red, yellow, or green bell peppers
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 large carrot
- 1 head of broccoli
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- Black pepper to taste
- Thinly the vegetables or cut them into small pieces.
- Toss the vegetables in a bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil, oregano, salt, and black pepper.
- In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes until tender and lightly charred.
- Add additional salt to taste if desired.
- Serve and enjoy!
Stir Fry Vegetables
Try this stir fry vegetable recipe with chicken, lean steak, shrimp, tofu, edamame, or cashews!
- 3 heads of broccoli
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 2 portobello mushroom caps
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons of grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons of mirin
- 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of Sriracha hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
- Sesame seeds and green onions for garnish (optional)
- Chop the broccoli into large florets.
- Chop the red onion into bite-sized pieces.
- Cut the peppers into bite-sized squares.
- Remove the stems from the mushrooms, slice them into strips, and cut larger pieces in half.
- Place all of the vegetables in a large bowl.
- Mince the garlic, peel and grate the ginger, and place in a small bowl.
- Mix together the mirin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and Sriracha in a small bowl.
- In a large skillet over high heat, heat the oil and add the broccoli, red onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms.
- Stirring occasionally, cook the mixture for 6-7 minutes until the edges begin to brown.
- Add the garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 more minute until the broccoli turns crisp-tender.
- Turn off the heat and add the sauce. Stir until combined.
- Taste and add additional salt if needed.
- Garnish the mixture with sesame seeds and green onions (optional).
- Serve the veggies with a protein of your choice and rice (optional).
Consider a grilled vegetable recipe during the warmer months to increase the nutritional content of your favorite meals on the grill!
- 2 portabella mushrooms
- 1 eggplant
- 1 zucchini
- 1 yellow squash
- 1 onion
- 1 bunch of thick asparagus
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of black pepper
- Preheat your grill to medium heat (350-450 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Trim the ends of the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, and onion and cut them into 1/3-1/2-inch slices.
- Seed the pepper and cut it into quarters.
- Trim the ends of the asparagus.
- Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.
- Grill the vegetables with the lid closed until they turn tender and lightly charred (about 8-10 minutes for the bell peppers, onion, and mushroom; and 5-7 minutes for the yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, and asparagus).
- Serve and enjoy!
*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on the most nutritious vegetables.