In all my years I have yet to hear anyone in the diet or nutrition field suggest we eat fewer vegetables. We might hear it’s best to eat more of the dark green leafy kind or choose based on all the colors of the rainbow. That’s all great advice but it may be best to take a simplistic view at times and focus our efforts on just eating more of them. There are times to use sheer will when doing so (baby carrots in hummus when you really feel like chips and salsa) but will-power can only get you so far. Let’s consider new possibilities…a vegetable upgrade if you will. Below are some new and hopefully tastier ways to get more vegetables in your day.
Muffins: Look for a muffin recipe that incorporates shredded zucchini or carrot into the batter. “Morning Glory” muffin recipes are a good bet.
Egg Scramble: Throw in some diced onion, tomato, mushroom and spinach to your egg scramble.
Smoothie: Make a “green smoothie” by adding a handful of leafy greens to your normal smoothie. It won’t change the flavor just the color and texture.
Leftovers Add-Ins: Add some frozen vegetables like broccoli or brussel sprouts to your main dish leftovers in a microwavable glass container. They will defrost by the time you’re ready to microwave at work.
Raw Vegetable Dippers: Make a tuna fish salad and use fresh vegetables like baby carrots, grape tomatoes, celery and mini-peppers along with some whole grain crackers as dippers.
“Hard” Salad: Salad doesn’t have to mean lettuce. Create a hard salad by cutting your favorite raw veggies into small pieces. Cauliflower, broccoli, red onion, bell pepper, snap peas, cucumber, mushrooms, tomatoes, carrot, cabbage, a bit of avocado all dressed with your favorite dressing or oil and vinegar. Try adding some dried herbs like Italian seasoning or dill for more flavor. The crunch of a hard salad is very complimentary to any meal. It’s especially satisfying if you enjoy salty crunchy foods.
Roasted Vegetables: You can roast any vegetable. Roasting vegetables sweetens them and creates a texture that’s anything but mushy. Just cut them up in a uniform size, spread them on a baking sheet, toss them with olive oil and salt and roast them for 10-20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Make sure you don’t crowd the vegetables so they don’t steam. If you’re using an outdoor grill use some metal skewers to roast them. Some clients say they hate cauliflower but when they try roasted cauliflower they love it.
For even more ideas on getting vegetables in your diet (or any other kind of healthier food), please contact our Nutritionist, Kathryn Reed, MS at firstname.lastname@example.org.