Here are some easy tricks that can help you to eat enough vegetables every day. I will cover these and some others.
- Keep a fruit bowl out on the counter
- Roast or grill veggies once a week
- Wash lettuce and store it in your salad spinner
- Store cut-up veggies in your fridge
- Always bring a piece of fruit with you
- The fruit is great to have at work for when hunger strikes
Most of us don’t get enough vegetables. In fact, 90% of Americans don’t get the recommended 2-3 servings a day. (For most vegetables, 1 cup is a serving. For raw, leafy vegetables like salad greens its 2 cups). Vegetables are a great source of healthy nutrients like fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamin A.
They also play a big role in helping people lose or maintain weight. Vegetables are rich in fiber, which helps fill you up. Plus, when you’re eating more low-calorie vegetables, there’s less space for eating less higher-calorie less-healthful foods. Tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, lettuce & other greens, beans & peas, & cucumbers are the best vegetables grown in the greenhouse.
The love of vegetables can be deceptive. Even though I adore Brussels sprouts and kale, I recently realized with a jolt of surprise that I don’t eat nearly the amount of vegetables this love affair would suggest. Something didn’t add up. Here are the top 10 tips for you to help you out on packing more vegetables into real-life meals and cooking.
1) Have a box of vegetables delivered every week
If a box of vegetables shows up at your door every so often, you’ll be that much more likely to eat them. I didn’t want to waste food, so I had to find a way to use everything. And it forced me to be more creative in my cooking!
2) Put your vegetables on the top shelf of the fridge
Hunky heads of cauliflower and broccoli shouldn’t get pushed to the back of the fridge or stuck out of sight in the suspiciously named “crisper” drawer; put them right upfront, where you’ll see and remember them.
3) Prepare a whole week’s worth of vegetables over the weekend
This may go against the usual idea of eating vegetables picked up during the day and eaten as fresh as possible. But it’s a lot more realistic for most of us and our busy schedules.
4) Ask yourself: What’s my idea of irresistible vegetables?
This may sound like vague or obvious advice, but really take a moment to think about the question. What kinds of vegetables are most appealing and irresistible? Do you fall over for creamy cauliflower soup? Have you roasted Brussels sprouts? Indulge as frequently as you want. I suggest finding ways to love vegetables! For me, that has meant changing my preparation: I have recently fallen in love with roasting veggies. I enjoyed Brussels sprouts for the first time in my life by roasting and had roasted broccoli for lunch the other day.
5) Add (or double) the vegetables in your nightly meals
There aren’t many weeknight meals that wouldn’t be made better with a handful of kale or spinach. Pizza? Top with broccoli florets. Risotto? See a handful of kale. Pasta? That’s easy — roasted carrots, beets, cabbage. See how many different vegetables you can pack into what you’re already cooking, which is made extra easy when you’ve followed the advice above (get them delivered, roast or cook them ahead of time). Take the everyday meals you already make and add one more vegetable — pasta sauce, mac and cheese, rice pilaf, risotto, etc. can all stand peas or zucchini or carrots or greens.
6) Eat vegetables for breakfast
Lots of breakfast dishes are better with vegetables. Think of omelets, frittatas, even toast with kale and an egg. I prep some cooked greens in a three- or four-serving size, and keep them in a plastic zip bag so I can microwave a serving to eat with an egg for breakfast. Smart!
7) Drink your veggies!
Another breakfast idea is to juice your carrots, greens, and beets. Or throw them into a green smoothie, like the one I make: “Smoothies! I make a green smoothie every morning. Eat a lot of greens (spinach, Mache, kale, etc.) with a piece of two of fruit, like apples or berries and two cups of water. If you do nothing else, do this. It’s so great for you and gives you a ton of vitamins and good stuff.”
8) Eat a salad at every meal
I buy bags of pre-washed greens and arugula for easy, fast salads. I also keep a jar of delicious homemade salad dressing in the fridge, which helps a lot. And salads aren’t just for dinner or lunch; I am a big fan of salad with breakfast, whether it’s a true breakfast salad or a simple pile of arugula next to a cheese omelet.
9) Substitute raw vegetables for crackers, pita, tortillas, and other types of bread
I eat a lot of baba ghanoush and other dips, and while I don’t practice low-carb eating, I find that a big container of cut-up bell pepper and cucumber is fresher and better for me than a box of pita chips. I also use leafy greens as wraps for tacos, sandwiches, etc., instead of tortillas or pita.
10) Don’t forget frozen vegetables!
While we may idealize that box of fresh, leafy greens straight from the farm, don’t overlook the humble frozen veggie. They are often frozen right at the farm, picked at their peak, and certain vegetables (peas, especially) taste great from the freezer. And they are always suitable for soups, scrambles, and pasta.