How to eat more veggies without trying too hard

Last week, I wrote about the recent research on correlations between vegetable consumption and happiness.

Of course, you’ve heard the message that veggies are good for you, probably since you were a young lad. Plants contain antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and liver-health-promoting micronutrients.

The plant’s phytochemicals, or plant chemicals with human health benefits, have extensive potential.

They have impressively powerful actions supporting health, many of which are just beginning to be understood in science.

Some evidence points to benefits that normalize blood pressure, blood lipids, neutralizing free radicals (that cause cell damage), preserve eyesight, and reduce chronic disease risks.

And since eating enough veggies is something many Americans aren’t enthusiastic about, I thought I’d help.

Following are some of the tips that I give to my clients.

How to eat more veggies without trying too hard:

  1. Make sure your fridge and freezer are well-stocked with veggies.

    1. Start your shopping in the produce section to fill up your cart.
    2. Add more veggies than usual to your grocery cart
    3. Fill up with 10% more than usual until that becomes your norm. Then boost the amount you buy at each trip by another 10%
  2. colorful mixed vegetablesBuy into a community supported agriculture (CSA) basket. As you receive regular deliveries of farm-fresh veggies and fruit, you’ll have to eat them. You’ll find new and creative ways to eat veggies, and you’ll discover some that you’ve never tried!
  3. Shop by the rainbow. Hunting for new veggie colors is fun for kids! Vegetables come in all colors – white, yellow, gold, orange, red, brown, black, purple, blue, green . . .
  4. Try something new. Each week, pick out a new veggie to figure out how to use (this varies according to season). Try a tomatillo, turbinado squash, or purple yam.
  5. Start with breakfast
    1. Add veggies to any kind of egg dish
    2. Make a veggie smoothie
    3. Make a lightning quick kale quesadilla (recipe here)
  6. Add them into your snacks
    1. Roasted veggies (root veggies are especially yummy)
    2. Veggie sticks and hummus
    3. Broccoli or cauliflower, warmed and seasoned as you like
    4. Brussels sprouts, warmed and seasoned with cumin seeds, salt, lemon, olive oil
    5. Guacamole with veggie sticks
    6. Small serving of veggie soup
  7.  Make them easier to consume

    1. You can buy pre-washed containers of leafy greens
    2. Enjoy assorted cut veggies to cut down on prep time
    3. Keep bags of frozen vegetables for later in the week when you’ve eating your fresh produce
    4. Summertime: Try keeping leftover grilled for quick snacks
    5. Winter: Try keeping roasted veggies or squash around
  8. Maximize their flavor
    1. Seasonal veggies taste better. Just compare the difference between a tomato eaten in summer vs one that is picked in January and shipped thousands of miles.
    2. Cooking vegetables often helps bring out natural flavors and sweetness.
    3. Add fresh herbs, like thyme, parsley, or tarragon.
  9. Make your salads more interesting. Salad is an adventure waiting to be unleashed!raspberry spinach salad
  10. Keep frozen veggies always on hand. They make for a fast veggie fix at any time of day.
  11. Sprout your beans or lentils. Add to salads. Or place on top of soups
  12. Enjoy sauerkraut or kimchi to season meals. Both come with spice that’s oh-so nice.
  13. Add more veggies to soups.
  14. Dress up your frozen pizza in lots of veggies.

Chard

How do you make veggies a bigger part of your life? Add your tips in the comments below.

 

Sources:

  1. http://www.foodinsight.org/Functional_Foods_Fact_Sheet_Antioxidants
  2. http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/phytochemicals
  3. http://nutrition.ucdavis.edu/content/infosheets/fact-pro-phytochemical.pdf

4 comments

  • Frances, thanks for posting these pointers on how to incorporate more veggies into my diet. I really appreciate it.

  • Oh my gosh, Frances – so many good ideas here to boost my veggie consumption. I’d say that I practice about half of your tips now, so there are lots of new things to try. One of your tips that work best for me are to make sure I always have fresh, cleaned vegetables in the fridge, which means cleaning them as soon as I get home from the store. I also practice adding a veggie or two to whatever I’m eating. Thanks for all the ideas!

    • Hey Lori, I avoid cleaning veggies until right before use. Otherwise, they are more likely to wilt. Try putting beet greens, parsley, or celery into water. Just cut the stems off, and change the water every few days.

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