With apologies to old-time holiday standbys, we’re trading in our partridges and golden rings for vitamins and minerals. A look at 12 benefits veggies provide during the holidays and all year long.


Pipers and pear trees may be the stuff of traditional holiday songs. But when it comes to kids and holiday meals, one bite of broccoli or 11 peas a munching is music to our ears.

We wouldn’t be surprised if a few servings of veggies are behind those 10 lords a-leaping. This is because veggies are chock-a-block with all the nutrients kids need for healthy growth, memory and moods.

So let’s give them a 12-days-of-the-holiday theme. If your kids eat veggies every day, this is what you can expect them to receive.

1 big portion of potassium. Potatoes, lima beans, mushrooms and other veggies are high in this nutrient. Potassium helps to maintain the healthy function of hearts, kidneys, muscles and the nervous system. So pass the ‘shrooms!

2 trips to the bathroom. Veggies are a good source of natural fiber, which is essential for lots of healthy number twos. Peas, artichokes and Brussels sprouts are all fiber-fabulous.

3 ways to A. Actually, lots of veggies have vitamin A, which is excellent for healthy eyes and supporting our immune system. The top three sources – sweet potatoes, carrots and kale – carry nearly or more than 300 percent the daily value of the vitamin.

4 grams of protein. It’s true! One serving of broccoli packs 4.2 grams of protein, according to the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act. Add a little cheese, or all-natural Cheesy Cheddar Vegy Vida, for even more protein.

5-times golden C. One large bell pepper carries more than 500 percent of the daily value of vitamin C. This essential vitamin improves immunity, helps to heal cuts and is good for healthy skin and teeth.

6 of vitamin B: The vitamin B6 promotes healthy metabolism, hair, skin and liver. Spinach, bell peppers, yams and broccoli are among the veggies that carry lots of it.

7 macro-minerals. In addition to potassium, lots of veggies pack calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride and sulfur.

8 hours of sleep. Vegetables help maintain healthy, stable moods, which means kids play more enthusiastically in the day and sleep better at night. Green beans, for example, help regulate sleep, moods and appetite because they are high in folate. More on folate next.

The 9 form of folate, or B9. Also found in dark leafy greens, asparagus and broccoli, folate encourages healthy cell and tissue growth and is important for converting what we eat into energy (metabolism).

10 milligrams of iron. That is the amount of iron you should strive to get into your kid’s diet daily. Spinach and other leafy greens are a good source of iron, which improves energy levels. If the kids are doubtful, remember that spinach works great in smoothies.

11 essential vitamins and minerals. That’s right, from vitamin D (mushrooms) to vitamin E (tomatoes) to calcium (greens) all 11 essential vitamins and minerals are covered by the veggie family.

12 years of good education. Greens – especially dark leafy greens, broccoli and beans – go straight our children’s heads. They are rich in nutrients that benefit a kid’s developing intelligence, mood and memory, from essential vitamins to folate.

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