NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–One of my favorite Bible stories can be found in Daniel 1.
This is the account of Daniel and his friends being captured and brought into a foreign land to train for service of the king of Babylon. The custom of the day was to feed the men the best food and drink from the king’s table because it was believed these choices made the men stronger.
Daniel chose to be different. He requested to be fed vegetables and water for 10 days and then be compared to the other men in training. Daniel 1:15 says, “At the end of the ten days they [Daniel and his friends] looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men that ate the royal food.”
Vegetables are power-packed foods that have wonderful health benefits. There are many advantages to including a variety of vegetables into your daily diet.
— Low in calories. One cup of raw vegetables or one-half cup of cooked vegetables has about 25 calories. Cook vegetables without adding fat to keep the calories low. Steaming is the best cooking method.
— Nutrient dense. Two to four servings a day of vegetables will provide vitamins C, A and foliate and plenty of potassium to help keep your body strong, healthy and in disease fighting mode.
— High in fiber. Fiber helps you to feel full and has been proven to lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.
— Quick to prepare. Frozen vegetables cook in about 8-10 minutes. Fresh vegetables can be washed, cut and stored in small bags for lunches and afternoon snacks.
— Crunchy! Instead of grabbing chips, try small carrots, celery or cauliflower for that crunchy craving. This will save you more than 100 calories and all the fat!
Choose these vegetables for the most vitamin and mineral benefits:
— Red and green Peppers
— Sweet potatoes
Just as in Daniel’s case centuries ago, eating vegetables each day is vital to an effective health plan.
Polk is the Fit 4 coordinator at LifeWay Christian Resources. To develop a nutrition plan that is right for you, see the Fit 4 Nutrition Starter Kit. Visit www.fit4.com  for more information.