The one thing about healthy eating almost everyone can agree on is this: vegetables are good for you! Different veggies provide different nutrients, so eating a wide variety of types and colors (and even using different cooking methods) can help you with healthful eating. Plus variety makes things interesting!
But incorporating vegetables into your meals can be a challenge when you aren’t used to eating them. To help give you some ideas, I’ve complied a few strategies that I use or others have shared that help them eat more vegetables. Use what works for you!
You don’t have to eat veggies plain, unless you enjoy them like that. Don’t be afraid to add a small amount of oil or butter, a pinch of salt or other spices to cooked veggies. If you enjoy ranch or another type of dip or dressing with your vegetables, go for it. Just be mindful of the serving size.
If there’s a vegetable you haven’t enjoyed in the past, try it a different way. Cook it instead of eating it raw (or vice versa). Try adding it in to a recipe, like a pasta, soup, lasagna or stir fry. You might just be surprised
You can also create delicious meals where vegetables are the star of the show. Salads are a great example! Get creative! Add in protein, some dressing, and a grain (croutons, tortilla chips, a dinner roll) and you have a complete meal.
Soups and chilis loaded with vegetables are favorites of mine in the wintertime. Have a small cup with a sandwich. And speaking of sandwiches, use your favorite sub shop as inspiration and create your own veggie loaded sandwich at home.
Other ideas: add veggies to your omelet or scrambled eggs. Even baked goods with shredded veggies (zucchini and carrots) can be a way to get a bit more nutrition with your treats!
For some more inspiration, here are a variety of ways to prepare and eat different types of veggies:
• Salads: try different blends of different types of lettuces. Some ideas: romaine, arugula, radicchio, spinach, kale, red or green leaf. Even iceberg has its place with adding some crunch.
• Carrots: raw or cooked. Did you know cooking carrots increases the availability of the vitamin A for our bodies to use!
• Peas: raw or cooked, great in salads or added to soups. Peas in edible pods (such as sugar snap peas) go great in the lunchbox!
• Broccoli and cauliflower: great raw with a bit of dressing or dip, or cooked. I enjoy steaming both and serving with a bit of cheddar or parmesan cheese
• Jicama: this veggie tastes like a milder, sweeter carrot. Just use a veggie peeler to take off the outer skin and cut into strips
• Cucumber: try mini cucumbers or seedless (also called hydroponic) if you don’t care for the large seeds.
• Cabbage: in cole slaw or on fish tacoes
• Bell or mini bell peppers: munch on them raw or stir fry them with onions
• Radishes: a nice accompaniment to a salad
• Tomatoes: raw slices with fresh mozzarella and basil
• Green beans: fresh are delicious steamed, or saute in some oil and add a sprinkle of thyme. Even some bacon bits makes a tasty side dish!
• Asparagus…with butter!
• Brussel sprouts… also with butter!
• Celery: eat with dip or peanut butter, or add to your stew or stir fry
• Zucchini and yellow squash: fried, steamed, grilled or roasted. Or baked into bread or muffins
Remember, you don’t have to like every vegetable on the face of the earth. But don’t be afraid to try something new. If you need more help with cooking and meal prep, or have or questions, reach out to me (firstname.lastname@example.org)! I’m here to help! Leave your comments below of what you like to do to eat more veggies!