Making It Easy to Eat More Vegetables
A frequent health goal, besides less phone time, is to eat more vegetables! This can be easier said than done. Here are a few tips on making that 2020 goal work for you!
Prepare the vegetables
One of the first things I talk about when people ask for nutrition information is the importance of preparation. When we do not prepare to eat healthfully, we make it too difficult to reach that goal. Once hunger strikes, it can be very difficult to choose the best option. Being prepared can make it easy to maintain a healthy diet.
1. Plan the week’s meals
Choose one day each week where you can sit down and look at the days ahead. Pick your breakfast, lunch, and dinner options based on your schedule. Then build your grocery list from there. Don’t forget to add snacks in! Often people skip meals and snacks, leading them to be so ravenously hungry that they binge, and often on the wrong kinds of foods. Having the right foods ready and available, and even packing snacks when on the go, can keep those hunger pains from getting out of hand.
2. Prepare them
If you are going to have fresh fruit or vegetables for snacks or with meals, take time to prepare them now. Buy a large bag of carrots, wash and cut them into sticks so they will be easy to grab. Add cucumbers, celery, and bell peppers to your menu by slicing them and placing them in an airtight container with a small amount of water to keep them from drying out in the refrigerator. Put apples and pears in a special see-through box so that they are the first items you see upon opening the fridge.
Invest in a steamer
There are innumerable ways to prepare vegetables. One that is frequently recommended is steaming. When you steam your vegetables, they spend less time being cooked and therefore fewer nutrients are lost. You can use a steaming basket over hot water on the stove, or invest in a rice cooker/steamer. This takes a small amount of time to heat up and can quickly steam your vegetables. Whether fresh or frozen, the steamer does a great job while preserving those much-desired nutrients! For broccoli, choose to steam for approximately 4 minutes, or until broccoli is bright green and just tender. For frozen vegetables, check that the middle of the pile is fully warmed before eating.
Hide the vegetables
Last but not least, adding small amounts of vegetables to your regular meals is a great way to get those extra servings. Try adding spinach to that turkey sandwich, throw some green peppers into your spaghetti sauce or taco meat, and add some mushrooms to your favorite soup recipe! You can even throw some kale or spinach into your blended smoothie. All of these options are great ways to boost your nutrient intake without changing the recipe’s taste too much.
What are your tricks for getting more vegetables?
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your diabetes?