“Eat your veggies.” We’ve all heard this phrase a thousand times from those around us – whether that be from mom, dad, colleagues or friends. There’s a reason this phrase is repeated time after time – simply put, they’re good for you. Vegetables are low in calories, full of fiber and packed with nutrients. While our loved ones’ advice makes sense, making sure we eat enough vegetables is often easier said than done. Try these ten steps to help increase your daily vegetable intake:1-4
Start by sneaking the word “vegetable” into your vocabulary. Adopt the mantra, “fill half of my plate with vegetables” and repeat it over and over to yourself to remind yourself of your target.
Write it down
Put vegetables on your grocery list, then into your grocery cart, and then into your pantry or refrigerator crisper – ready and available to enjoy.
Stock up on your favorites
Stock up on your favorite vegetables when they are in season. When they’re readily available you’ll be more inclined to eat them. According to the Fruits and Vegetables – More Matters health initiative, there are over 25 vegetables that are fresh and in-season all year. In-season vegetables are fresher and taste better than out-of-season choices. They’ll also give you the most nutrition for your buck!
Choose fresh and simple options
Fresh greens and vegetables for salads are abundant in summer. If you’re not a fan of making salads or you’re cooking for one, buying premade salad mixes can be a great option. Grocery stores carry a wide variety of prepackaged options from caesar salad mixes to slaws, to spinach and kale. Also, a fresh vegetable relish tray with carrots, celery and peppers can easily fill half of a plate. Consider adding some salsa or grilled veggie hummus to a relish plate to add yet another vegetable serving.
Summer and fall are popular grilling seasons. Tailgating with family and friends? Make sure to leave a little room on the grill for some fresh, sliced vegetables. Peppers, onions, zucchini, broccoli or summer squash are great choices. Adding a little salt, pepper or a vinaigrette dressing with healthy oils helps add flavor and variety.
Whip up a healthy, quick meal by roasting or stir-frying veggies available during the cold, wet months like, onions, peppers, asparagus, eggplant, cauliflower, or brussel sprouts. Stir-frying or roasting vegetables at high heat under the broiler can help retain the texture, flavor and nutrients of vegetables.
Slide some pureed veggies into a sauce base and serve over pasta. Try a cauliflower puree to make a base for an Alfredo sauce or pureed basil for a pesto sauce.
Having a holiday brunch? Add leafy greens, tomatoes or peppers to egg dishes. Try a smoothie with added spinach or serve vegetable juices instead of fruit juices.
Add them anyway
Slip root vegetables like carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes, squash, corn or beets into the winter roasting pot even if a recipe doesn’t call for them. They make great additions to stews, soups and skillet meals.
Try Something new
Resolve to try at least one new vegetable each season. If you only like a few vegetables, your new favorites are waiting to be discovered.
Follow the advice to “eat your veggies” by trying these simple steps. Before you know it, your sneaky efforts will grow your vegetable repertoire into “half your plate” at every meal!