Have you ever looked at the traditional food pyramid and thought, “Ugh, there’s no way I can eat that many fruits and veggies?” If you have, you are probably not alone. I aim for 10 servings of fruits and veggies per day and usually it isn’t that hard… you just need to get a bit creative. Instead of deciding that you need to eat steamed brussel sprouts with every meal you need to find ways to incorporate these foods that are so easy you barely think about it. Its not so impossible when you are really enjoying your food and barely notice that GASP.. you are eating VEGGIES! Here are seven ways to add vegetables into your diet. Some might be obvious and some you might not have tried.
#1 Add them to your eggs. Oh yes… the veggie omelet! Spinach, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, peppers, even asparagus and a whole number of vegetables taste absolutely fantastic with eggs. Scramble them up for a healthy breakfast or serve them in an omelet. You can get up to two servings of vegetables taken care of right off the bat. Plus, if you are eating away from home there are many restaurants that make delicious veggie omelets.
#2 Add them to your sandwich. Add tomato to tuna or egg sandwiches. Add guacamole to your turkey sandwich instead of mayo and you have a serving of vegetables. Add a slice of lettuce and a tomato to sandwiches and burgers or try a veggie sub. These are one of my faves… a sub with spinach, butter lettuce, cucumbers, tomato, onion, mushrooms, cheese, and oil & vinegar. Yum!
#3 Grab a veggie drink. Green Smoothies are so tasty and you don’t even notice the veggies. I get at least 2 servings of dark leafy greens every time I drink one.
#4 Precut veggies and make them easy to snack on. Carrots, celery, peppers, broccoli and a number of other vegetables are easy to prepare in advance. Grab your favorite dip or hummus and snack on vegetables when you’re at work or just sitting in front of the television. Put em on the table front and center and kids will grab them when they walk by too.
#5 Eat a salad a day. It’s easy to make sure you eat a salad at lunch or dinner and one salad can provide two servings of vegetables. If you add a bit of protein to the salad like chicken, tofu, beans, nuts, turkey or eggs then you have a complete meal. You can even get really inventive with your salads.. Italian Bean and Tomato Salad or Berried Avocado Grapefruit Salad. Try 365 Salad Recipes for ideas.
#6 Puree vegetables and add them to sauces and baked goods. You’d be surprised what you can do with a pureed vegetable. The Sneaky Chef addresses this. Pureed cauliflower can be added to mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese and you can puree squash and add it to a number of soups and sauces.
#7 Eat vegetable soups and use veggie based sauces. Vegetable soups are very satisfying and they can provide you with a serving or more of vegetables. When I make sweet and sour soup for instance, I usually add tons of snow peas and mushrooms. For even more nutrition make sure the soup is made with a vegetable broth instead of beef or chicken. You can even make your own vegetable broth with veggies that are looking sad. Sauces can be made from squash, tomatoes and herbs like basil for a tasty pasta topping.
When you take a look at all the tips and tricks you have available, eating five or more servings of vegetables each day isn’t that tough. Make it easier on yourself and make eating vegetables convenient and easy. Think ahead, make sure you and your family have plenty of easy to access vegetable options, including frozen vegetables, and have fun with it. Vegetables can and do taste good and they’re good for you.