Vegetables are so healthy for you and have hidden health benefits that make them even more of a gem to eat. I am going to give you the 411 on the healthiest vegetables to buy and why.

Canned – When buying canned veggies you are thinking it is faster and easier to buy and fix. Yes, in some ways that may be true but they are not all that it they are cracked up to be. Canned veggies are loaded with sodium. You are buying a product that seems to be a great option but is really a salt fest. If you do decide to still buy the canned veggies, at least rinse them in a colander in the sink with water to rid them of some of that added sodium.

Frozen – Frozen veggies are really one of the best ways to go. They are picked at the peak of ripeness and immediately frozen, locking in the nutrients. When cooking with frozen veggies, get the most out of the nutrients by steaming in a covered saucepot. The lid holds in the nutrients while cooking.

Fresh – Buying fresh vegetables can be tricky. The best way to buy them is at a local farmers’ market. They are picked at the peak of ripeness and then sold to you after they have been freshly picked. When you buy them from a grocery store, you are not buying them at the peak of freshness. The veggies are picked when they are ripest and then shipped off all around the country to sell at grocery stores. This process causes a loss in the freshness/ nutrients of the produce. Second, the shelf life of the produce is lessened due to traveling and waiting on you to buy it. That in turns means that the taste will not be as fresh.

The best vegetables to look for are veggies that are dark in color. For example, the darker the greens the healthier they are. Romaine lettuce or darker greens provide more nutritional value than the lighter kinds. Iceburg has no added calories, but the darker choices have more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

When buying potatoes, sweet potatoes are the way to go. The darker color contains more vitamins and nutrients than the white potatoes. The sweet potatoes have a ton of beta-carotene in them, which is great for the body and greatly helps with our sight. Carrots and butternut squash are other examples of a nutrient-rich, dark color vegetables.

Veggies and fruits that have a peel or outer shell are also better in nutritional value because of their nutrient-rich peels. When eating an apple, you really want to eat the peel, it contains a great amount of fiber. Same thing with potatoes. The peel on some veggies and fruits also contains a seal to protect them from pesticides and bugs. So look for produce with a peel or outer shell.