While there are number of various, often confusing & opposing diets (high carb, low carb, high fat, low fat) the one thing that all of those diets agree on is vegetable intake.
Veggies are absolutely crucial for healthy weight, hormonal balance, mood, energy levels, sleep, sex drive, blood lipids, glucose levels, heart & brain health, immune system, inflammation levels and so much more.
While many of you may say that you have no health complaints thus no reason to start eating veggies now, I will tell you that those seasonal colds, joint aches and pains, moodiness, fatigue & tiredness all go away once you up your intake.
Health organizations recommend consuming at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and let me tell you, as a nation we are nowhere near that.
So how to add more veggies to every meal?
>>> Make savory oatmeal: combine shredded zucchini, finely chopped kale or spinach with roasted garlic, onions, peppers & sprinkle of cheese, and stir it into oatmeal, serve with 2-3 eggs.
>>> Add veggies to your eggs (I use leftovers from the night before).
>>> Add spinach to your morning smoothie - I promise even the most picky eaters won't know it's there.
>>> When making avocado toast, top it with spinach before you place the eggs, and serve with a side of sliced up veggies.
>>> Even if you prefer a sweet breakfast, you can follow it up with a super refreshing green smoothie that you can sip on your way to work.
My favorite combo is spinach/kale, lemon, fresh ginger, apple or pineapple and cilantro (recipe HERE).
>>> Think beyond a salad - veggie soups, stews and chili are an awesome way to sneak in more veggies.
>>> Bring sliced up vegetables, with or without, a greek yogurt based dip. Cucumbers, carrots, radishes, peppers, celery are all great options (quick tip: store them with a wet paper towel - it will help them stay fresh longer).
>>> Bring leftovers - I always make extra veggies at dinner to eat for lunch the next day. I even make enough so I can feed them to my dog Mic who absolutely loves them.
>>> Use jarred or canned (BPA-free cans) vegetables - stock up on artichokes, heart of palm, roasted peppers, olives, mushrooms and add to your salad or sandwich.
>>> Order soup/salad and 1/2 sandwich - most delis and lunch joints offer this combo - that's a great compromise if you are a sandwich lover.
>>> Substitute a starch with a vegetable in your favorite meal:
- serve stir-fry in a pepper, portobello or zucchini;
- serve meat sauce over zucchini noodles;
- make cauliflower mac and cheese;
- make lettuce wrapped tacos or fajitas;
- make cauliflower crust pizza - recipe HERE ;
- mash cauliflower instead of potatoes;
- sub rice for green peas in paella recipes;
>>> Embrace frozen vegetables - by far my favorite way to add veggies to my dinners is to shallow steam them in chicken broth (pour about 1/2 cup of chicken broth to a pan, cover and bring to boil. Once it boils, add your vegetables, cover and cook for 5-10 minutes depending on the size, fresh/frozen, how you like it cooked).
Best veggies (either fresh or frozen) for shallow steaming are broccoli, thick leafy greens, zucchini, cauliflower, peas, green beans and brussels sprouts. I always have bags of them in my freezer.
>>> Add spinach/kale/chard/herbs to your marinara source or soups - especially the ones that are starting to get a little old. The heat will wilt them and you won't even notice.
>>> Add a veggie appetizer before main course - whether at home or out preface the main course with a small salad, veggie soup or crudités.
If you need extra help figuring out ways to eat healthier, don't hesitate to shoot me an e-mail to schedule your first consultation.
I've helped dozens of adults as well as children improve their diets. You don't have to do it alone.