EASY WAYS TO EAT MORE VEGETABLES
Are you eating enough veggies? The CDC (Center for Disease Control) reported that only 9% of Americans were eating the recommended 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day in 2015. Considering all the amazing ways plant foods benefit our bodies, it’s crucial that we eat a variety of them on the daily! So what gives? Why do we avoid the foods that are best for us? Two big issues arise around good old vegetables: convenience and flavor. Convenience. We live in a grab and go society. If it can’t be prepared and devoured in minutes, chances are we can’t be bothered by it. Unfortunately, vegetables don’t seem to mix well with this ideology. Bags of chips or granola bars are seemingly much easier to grab than brussels sprouts. Flavor. When you think of the word “vegetable,” flashbacks to childhood commence. You’re sitting at the kitchen table, squirming at the pungent smell of overcooked broccoli that you must somehow get rid of without mom catching you. We all know the drill: “No dessert unless you eat your veggies.” Fortunately, there are many solutions to both qualms! Follow these simple tips to incorporate more delicious, nutritious vegetables into your diet:
- As soon as you get home from grocery shopping, wash and chop up veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and peppers into bite size pieces before storing in the fridge. This makes it much easier to add them into a quick recipe during the hectic workweek (think stir fry!) or simply pack to snack on them raw with some dip. If you’re really in a time crunch and your budget allows, most grocery stores even carry a wide variety of pre-cut vegetables!
- Try packing veggie based snacks or lunches into easy to grab tupperware containers at the beginning of the week to bring to school or work.
- When cooking, double your recipes so you have leftovers for busier days when whipping up fresh vegetables isn’t an option.
- Frozen vegetables make a great side dish when in a pinch. Keep a variety in your freezer, microwave them according to package directions, and voila!
- There are countless ways to swap less healthy ingredients for vegetables in your favorite recipes, meals, or snacks while keeping them full of flavor. Here are some examples!
- Using baby carrots, bell pepper slices, celery, or sugar snap peas in lieu of pretzels or chips in your favorite dips and spreads. We recommend hummus, guacamole, or greek yogurt ranch (check out our recipe here!)
- Use avocado instead of butter on toast, as the base of a pasta sauce instead of cream, or replace the mayo in chicken salad with some mashed green goodness.
- Try canned pumpkin, sweet potato, or butternut squash in sweets like brownies or pancakes instead of oil and butter for added moisture with a nutritional boost!
- Replace ⅓ of the pasta in your traditional mac and cheese dish with steamed cauliflower. This adds volume and vitamins while keeping that comforting cheesy flavor.
- Vegetables don’t have to be bland or boring. Try steaming them and adding a 1 oz package of BBQ, Garlic & Onion or Sriracha crisps for a unique, protein packed seasoning blend! Check out the full how-to here.
- Add a few slices of lemon or squeeze lemon juice, garlic, and sea salt as you prepare your vegetables for a zesty undertone.
- Coconut Aminos are a great low sodium, soy sauce alternative that can be added to vegetable stir frys to mimic your favorite Asian cuisine!
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of Curry spice prior to oven roasting vegetables and serve over brown rice. Preliminary studies have shown that Curry powder acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and aids in digestion!