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 email@example.com.
The only thing every person on the planet agrees on in terms of nutrition is that we need to eat more vegetables. Thankfully we’re in the summer salad season – but it takes time to prep a fresh lettuce salad and we can often get bored with the same choice.
Below is a new twist on salad – a way you can use a variety of vegetables you have on hand. As the name implies this is a salad that doesn’t get soggy because you don’t use lettuce. Since you aren’t worrying about it getting soggy you can easily make a batch of it on Sunday to pull from for an easy dinner side or packed lunch for the week. The flavor, color and texture variations on this salad are truly endless!
Marinated Hard Vegetable Salad:
Vegetables – At the base of the salad is any raw vegetable you like; the trick is to cut the vegetables in small ½ inch size pieces so that every bite has a good mix of flavor. Think carrot, broccoli, zucchini, purple or green cabbage, tomato, cucumber, onion, cauliflower, corn, radish….the list is endless. If it’s a vegetable and it doesn’t wilt in dressing it’s a good choice.
Vinaigrette dressing – Use one without additives or preservatives or simply add oil, vinegar or lemon.
Dried herbs (optional) – Sprinkle on any dried herb you like; such as Italian seasoning, cumin, oregano, dill, basil, etc.
Beans (optional) – Add any rinsed canned beans you like; such as garbanzo, black beans, great northern, etc. Adding beans provides protein and a different texture.
Crumbled cheese (optional) – If you enjoy a creamy tang add some feta or other crumbled cheese.
The longer this salad marinates the better the flavor develops. Enjoy!
For more information, please contact our Nutritionist, Kathryn Reed, MS, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is some important and growing research on our gut microbiome and its relation to our body weight that I’ve been paying attention to lately and so should you.
In a nutshell, it’s not just what we eat or how we eat, it’s how our food is being digested that can affect how we store and absorb calories and their nutrients. In a study published recently in JAMA, scientists took the gut bacteria from fat mice and healthy weight mice and then implanted them in the other. Shockingly the fat mice lost weight and the normal weight mice got fat – and they were given the same type and amount of food!
We have not yet distinguished which of the gut bacteria are the culprits in terms of keeping us slim or fat. But what we do know is that we need a healthy and diverse microbiome in our gut and we need to feed our gut the foods that allow the healthy weight bacteria to flourish.
Here are my recommendations to make sure your gut bacteria are at their most optimal balance:
1) If you need to go on an antiobiotic please take a probiotic or yogurt with live active cultures daily so that your gut diversity is kept intact. Antibiotics kill the bacteria that’s making you sick along with some of our beneficial gut bacteria.
2) Keep your gut bacteria and the mucosal lining of your intestine intact by feeding yourself enough fiber – every day. Recommendations are 25-35g daily and sources can come from fruit, vegetables, whole grains and the fiber that is added in various processed bars, etc. Studies have shown that it takes just one day of eating low fiber to reduce our mucosal lining where our healthy gut bacteria live and flourish.
3) If you went through courses of antibiotic use throughout your life (tetracycline was often used to treat acne in teenagers) and you fear that your digestion has been compromised – and your attempts at losing weight have often failed – it may be time to visit a Naturopath. A Naturopath can help you improve your digestion and re-colonize your gut bacteria so that it’s more diverse and balanced.
Now we know that eating enough fiber every day is not only what keeps us feeling full with less calories – it helps us feed a microbiome that’s likely to keep us at our healthiest weight.
You’re welcome to contact Kathryn at email@example.com to discuss your current diet and strategies to better feed your healthy gut.