Many people struggle with eating veggies. In the typical American Diet, potatoes are the veggie of choice. Unfortunately, we need more than just french fries and potato chips in our diet.
By the way, by diet, I don’t mean going on a diet. Diet means what you eat regularly. Everyone should have veggies in their diet.
So how the heck can you get more veggies in your diet? Here are THIRTEEN ways I get more veggies into my diet.
1 . Raw Veggies with Dip. My favorite dips are fresh smashed avocado with lime juice, guacamole, hummus, and Greek Ranch Dip (ranch packet mix made with plain non-fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or buttermilk).
2 . Plain Raw Veggies as part of a snack or when in the car ride home from work or when on your way to eat dinner at a restaurant. I do this because A). I am stuck in the car and have no other options to choose from, and I can mindlessly eat while driving B). It curbs my hunger until I get home or to the restaurant where I am having my next meal. So now I am not getting “hangry”. Since I am not starving, I am less likely to make unhealthy choices at home or the restaurant and thus, I can make healthier choices.
My favorite raw veggies are:
cherry tomatoes (especially the heirloom variety)
sugar snap peas
red bell peppers
3 . Frozen Veggies: Get bags of frozen veggies such as peas, carrots, broccoli, or a medley. Portion them out into baggies or Tupperware. Throw them into your lunch pail or enjoy them at home. Then on your break add a little water, and cook them for 2-3 minutes. Drain the excess water, add salt and pepper and dig in. This can be for a snack or part of your lunch. This was how I got myself to start eating veggies daily. After a while, I could feel the difference in my body when I didn’t eat veggies, it wasn’t good, which only encouraged me to continue to eat them daily.
4 . Smoothies: I add a handful or two of spinach or kale to my smoothies every morning. If you are just starting to do this, start with a small handful and work your way up to large handfuls, so you can adjust to the slight change in taste.
5 . Sandwiches, Wraps, Tacos, Burgers: I always add fresh chopped veggies to my sandwiches, wraps, tacos, and burgers. My favorites are the obvious lettuce, kale, spinach, and collard green (you can also make lettuce wraps or wraps out of the collard greens). I also love adding shredded cabbage, shredded purple cabbage, shredded broccoli (found by the shredded cabbage), sliced red bell pepper, shredded carrots, sprouts and sliced mushrooms.
6 . Salads: There’s the obvious salads. BUT, expand your salad creations, make ones without lettuce and only different veggies. I have a couple recipes posted, you can also do antipasti salads and increase the veggie content. Salads don’t mean boring, same old lettuce.
7 . Zoodles: Zoodles = zucchini noodles. I seriously LOVE zoodles. I eat them raw, and sprinkle fresh lemon juice over the top then eat them with whatever sauce/topping that I would regular pasta… soooo yummy! They are super tender raw so I don’t bother steaming them. You can find a cheap zucchini spiralizer on amazon for around $15 or less. I have one that is hand held and the similar motion to sharpening a pencil. It is also super portable, so I often throw it into my lunch pail, and make my zoodles at work.
8 . Baked: Baked veggies are sooo good. Usually you can cook veggies at 400 F for anywhere from 20-40 minutes, depending on the size, and how hard of a veggie they naturally are. I love broccoli cooked with olive oil and lemon juice or carrots with onion and parsley. Small, whole sweet potatoes baked for an hour, or until tender; they seriously taste sooo much different when baked because all the natural sugars are released when slowly cooked. Man, they are good!! Sometimes I make 4-5 small baked sweet potatoes and bring them to work as a snack or breakfast on the go. Reheat them and snack away. I eat the skin, but you can easily peel it off. BTW, regular baked potatoes are also great for you as long as you don’t load them with cheese, butter and sour cream – that’s the stuff that makes them so fatty. Instead try steamed broccoli and cheese or topping them with chili.
9 . Grilled: Grilled veggies are another way to enhance the flavor of veggies. Something about charbroiled veggies is absolutely delicious! Corn, bell peppers, asparagus, onions, zucchini are some prime examples. To really make the flavors pop, rub them in olive oil, salt and pepper before grilling.
10 . Soups: Make veggie soup as a side dish for the week, or soup for a meal with a protein source in it (egg, beans, tofu, meat). Soup is an excellent way to eat veggies because it is full of flavor, and cooking them down often releases more of the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Some veggies need the plant broken down so you can access all of its benefits from iron in spinach, to cancer fighting enzymes in tomatoes. Raw isn’t always best.
11 . Stir Fry, Chili, Spaghetti and other dishes: Making stir fry with a lot of different veggies is a great way to get a dish that is full of veggies. You can also finely chop veggies and mix them into dishes like chili or spaghetti such as broccoli, onion, tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, spinach, kale, etc.
12 . Chips and Homemade Fries: Not the kind you are thinking about! Try making kale chips (working on a recipe for you!!) or other veggie chips. I love homemade sweet potato fries. Thinly slice into fry size and shape. Place in bowl and toss with 1-2 TBSP oil, sprinkle with salt or cinnamon. Bake at 400 F for 45-60 minutes. Enjoy!
13 . Vegan or Vegetarian Meals: Try vegan and vegetarian recipes (preferably ones with veggies). OR Instead of ordering meat dishes at restaurants, try a vegan or vegetarian one!
I hope this helps you include more veggies in your diet. There are so many benefits of eating veggies, and they are absolutely necessary for a healthy body! They aid in digestive health, cardiovascular health, maintaining/achieving a healthy weight, fill you up, have tons of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, stabilize blood sugar, and aid in cancer prevention. The benefits are truly endless, and once you start eating them regularly, you will feel a difference in your body.
What is your favorite way to eat your veggies?
P.S. You can also steam or juice them, but those seem to be well known =P