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This Thanksgiving Eat More! (Non-starchy veggies, that is!)

Plan to fill half of your plate with tasty and carb friendly non-starchy veggies! Often referred to as “free vegetables”, non-starchy vegetables dish up loads of flavor, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber without lots of calories and carbs.

Starchy vegetables (peas, corn, potatoes, winter squash) contain carbs similar to the amount in grains and “starches” such as bread, pasta and rice.  Count these veggies as part of your carb allowance at meals.

In comparison, non-starchy vegetables are low in carbs and calories; generally a 1-cup raw portion or ½-cup cooked portion dishes up just 25 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates.

Add up the numbers! Unless you eat more than 2 cups of raw or 1 cup of cooked non-starchy veggies at a meal or snack, you may not need to count the carb in your meal plan.

Artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, green beans, greens, mushrooms, peppers, radishes, summer squash, tomatoes and turnips are just some examples of non-starchy vegetables.

Just keep them low in calories, carbs and fat by enjoying them without a heavy blanket of creamy or cheese sauces, butter or coated and fried.  Fresh, frozen and canned veggies without added salt are your best bets. 

Simply dress them up for the season with simple cooking methods.

This recipe for “Lemon Green Beans with Pine Nuts” uses fresh (not frozen) microwave-in-bag green beans.  Find them in the produce aisle of your supermarket.   These beans taste just like fresh, but are a cinch to prepare! For serving a large group, simply add an extra bag of green beans for every 4 people.  Remember to increase the other ingredients, too.

Lemon Green Beans with Pine Nuts

12-ounce bag microwave-in-the-bag fresh green beans
Coarse salt
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice from ¼ of a small lemon
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Pierce green bean bag with fork; microwave on high 4-5 minutes or until tender. Let stand 1-3 minutes.  Open bag carefully as beans will be hot and steamy.  Place cooked beans in a medium bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.  Top with pine nuts before serving.  Delicious served hot or at room temperature.  Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: Calories 73, Fat 5 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 5 mg, Carbohydrate 6 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 2 g.

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