We all know that we should eat more plant-based foods, especially vegetables. In fact, it is recommended that we eat 5-7 servings of VEGETABLES (Fruit doesn’t count, here!) EACH DAY!!!
The key is to start out slow. Try adding just ONE serving a day for a few weeks, then increase to Two and so on. When trying to change to a healthier diet it is important to focus on ADDING good choices and NOT Forbidding yourself to eat certain things. There is room in a healthy diet for ALL foods, it is just the proportions of each that we need to keep in check. ADDING vegetables and other healthy choices will AUTOMATICALLY limit the amount of not so healthy things we consume. As we were taught as kids, the glass is half FULL, not half EMPTY!!!
Easy Ways to Eat More Vegetables Every Day
- Keep vegetables in plain sight in your refrigerator. How many times has that head of cauliflower or bunch of greens gotten pushed behind the milk or forgotten in the crisper drawer! You are more likely to use something if it is front of mind!
- Prepare vegetables right after shopping. You are much more likely to grab something that has already been washed, trimmed, chopped, and in some cases already roasted. Plus, you can use all the trimmings to make a batch of stock!! (If you need help with this, check out our Basic Knife Skills or Veggie Power class.)
- Find YOUR preferred way of eating veggies and go for it!! Some people love the crunch or flavor of raw carrots or broccoli, others favor the sweet, savory sensation of roasted roots while others prefer a quick sauté or stir-fry with a splash of vinegar, citrus or even maple syrup to finish it off. There is no right or wrong, and despite what you read you will still get nutritional value ANYWAY you consume, and if you enjoy something you are more likely to eat it more.
- Double up! Normal weeknight meals can be easily upgraded with an extra portion of veggies. Top your pizza with sautéed peppers and shredded spinach. Toss pasta with already roasted veggies or just add quick cooking types like green beans, asparagus or zucchini to the pot during the last few minutes of boiling. Puree sweet potato, cauliflower or even carrots and add to pasta sauce, mac and cheese or meatloaf. The possibilities are endless!! My favorite is to sauté vegetables, add garlic and minced ginger, toss in leftover rice and liquid aminos and cook until heated through.
- Start early! Nothing is worse than getting ready for dinner and realizing you haven’t had even ONE serving of vegetables for the day!! Toss some greens or leftover cooked vegetables in scrambled eggs, add some carrots and greens to your smoothie or indulge in the trendy avocado toast!! For lunch, try a grain bowl topped with your favorite vegetables and homemade salad dressing. Then by the time dinner arrives you only need a couple servings to round out your day!!
- Substitute raw vegetables and leafy greens for crackers, pita, tortillas and other bread items. Prep a large container of carrot sticks, bell pepper strips and cucumber slices to grab and go with your favorite hummus or other dips. Use leafy greens as wraps for tacos and sandwiches.
- Frozen is your Friend! Most frozen vegetables are frozen right at the farm within hours of harvesting locking in the nutrients and flavor. In fact, frozen is more nutritious than fresh that was picked weeks (or even months) prior and shipped thousands of miles! My freezer is always stocked with frozen corn, cut green beans, peas and mixed medleys which helps ensure I can add a vegetable to my meal even if I haven’t gotten to the store!!
What are your favorite ways to eat and cook with more vegetables!! I would LOVE to hear from you!!