There is no question that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is linked to better health. Vegetables are nutritional powerhouses, low in calories, fats, and sugar and high in vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy body. Adding more vegetables to your diet may seem like a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. Try these eight tips to help you sneak an extra serving of vegetables in every day.
Prep Your Veggies for the Week Ahead of Time
In order to eat more veggies, make it convenient. Try to prep your veggies for use as soon as you bring them home. Wash and spin dry your greens, storing them in a zip top bag with a paper towel inside to collect any remaining moisture. Wash and chop larger vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower so they are ready to throw into your recipes. If you have a half an hour, try roasting some root vegetables to serve as a side or mix into your meals throughout the week.
Include Veggies in Unexpected Places
Try sneaking veggies into unexpected places. Instead of baking a pound cake, try making zucchini bread. Add some parsnips, carrots, or squash to your favorite muffin recipe. Add spinach, kale, or Swiss chard to your favorite fruit smoothie recipe for added nutrition and a fantastic green color. Sneak a tomato or some spicy arugula into your next grilled cheese sandwich. Add finely diced broccoli or cauliflower to gooey, decadent mac and cheese.
Add Extra Veggies to Recipes
In recipes that call for vegetables, try simply doubling the amount of vegetables you add. You can simply add more of the same vegetables called for in the recipe, or you can add different vegetables to add more flavor to the dish. This is an easy way to increase your veggie intake and lower the calorie count of each portion. This approach works well with almost any vegetable in almost any dish, just remember to increase the amount of seasoning added as well. Taste as you go and you should be fine.
Pick One New Veggie Each Week
It is easy to get bored with vegetables if there are only a few types you usually eat. To expand your recipe repertoire and your palate, try picking one new vegetable to try each week. You can then look up a few new recipes featuring your veggie of choice, with a few different methods for preparing. Most veggies can be steamed, sautéed, roasted, pan-seared, or boiled, with each cooking method bringing out different flavors and textures. You may find a new family favorite to add to your rotation.
Include Salads in Your Diet
It is easy to overlook the simple salad, but serving a salad with dinner every night and having a salad for lunch once or twice per week are easy ways to eat more veggies. If you think salads are boring, try looking up recipes for different types of salads. Varying the salad greens, mix-ins like fruit, nuts, and cooked veggies, eggs, or meats, and mixing up the salad dressing used provides nearly endless variety. Try different combinations until you find something you love. Salads are a great way to use up leftover cooked vegetables and meats.
Do Eat Dips
Most dips are high in calories, but if served with veggies rather than chips they can be a great way to encourage vegetable consumption. Start by preparing your family’s favorite dip, whether it is ranch, onion dip, guacamole, or a mayo-based dip like honey mustard mayo prepared using Just Mayo from HamptonCreek. Then cut up all your favorite veggies like broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower, and try some new ones like crunchy jicama or radishes. Another good idea is to blanch tougher vegetables to make them easier to eat for the little ones.
Replace Your Noodles
Try replacing your spaghetti in your Friday night spaghetti and meatballs dish with some spiralized zucchini or carrots. A spiralizer is a cooking tool that cuts vegetables into long, thin strips a similar shape to spaghetti. These long, thin veggies can be topped with your favorite pasta sauce for an all-vegetable pasta, used to make a salad with a unique texture, or used to prepare a quick-cooking veggie side dish.
Eating a vegetable-rich diet has many health benefits, and it is worth the effort to change your eating habits to improve both your short-term and long-term health. You know what works for your family. Just think in terms of eating vegetables with every meal, and see how creative you can be in fitting them onto your plate.
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