We have all been told to eat our veggies as a child. Some may have heard, “No dessert until you eat your green beans.” For others, “Clean your plate. There are starving kids in China.” was more common. Well your parents may have been on to something! Veggies are full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber! A higher intake of veggies (and fruit) has even been associated with a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. A great goal is to make half your plate veggies at every meal. I am not talking about the giant plates that can be found today, but the smaller dinner plates that can be comparable to some salad plates. If you are having a dish that has veggies mixed it that works too. As long as those veggies would take up about half your plate if you separated them out, you are good to go!
Adding veggies to every meal can seem like a daunting task, but it can be pretty easy. When choosing your veggies for the week, try to include a variety of colors. This will insure you are getting a variety of nutrients. If you find it hard to get veggies with every meal try some of these tips below!
- Have veggies in your house. If you don’t buy them, you will not eat them. Buying veggies that are in season will help with price and they will also taste the best! See what veggies are in season.
- If you are purchasing veggies that do not have a long shelf life, eat those at the beginning of the week and save your carrots and celery for the end of the week. You could also go to the store twice a week. I find that this is what a majority of my clients like to do.
- Make sure the veggies you are going to eat are ready for consumption. If you are going to have sliced peppers and hummus, but the pepper still needs to be cut and washed the chances of you still having that will drastically decrease.
- Add veggies to your eggs. Peppers, onions, mushrooms, and spinach are quite tasty in eggs. If you missed the crustless quiche recipe a few weeks ago be sure to check it out.
- Add them to a smoothie. This works great with spinach and kale! Start with spinach; it blends right in and you probably won’t even taste it.
- Make them your staple side dish. Carrots, celery, or peppers with hummus is great! Celery with nut butter is another good one for packed lunches. Baked asparagus, roasted beets, kale salad, or fermented coleslaw are some great dinner options.
- Replace your chips with veggies. Peppers, carrots, beets, and other veggies will give your body more nutrients than chips. You can even try kale chips. They are easy to make and delicious!
- Replace the tortilla or bread with a lettuce, Swiss chard, or collard green leaf. If using a bitter leaf like the collard green blanch it first. This will take out the bitterness and create a nice texture for the wrap.
- When eating out, swap French fries for a side salad or veggie. I know it is tempting, but veggies give your body so many more nutrients than the French fries.
- Be adventurous and try a new veggie. You can even try ones you didn’t like as a child. Tastes change. In my opinion, canned veggies taste a lot different than fresh veggies. Who knows, you may find a new favorite food!
Which step are you going to take to increase your veggies? They can be easy to overlook, but are crucial to your health!