You can’t get through a nightly news segment without hearing a report of how important vegetables are in your diet. Long-term health, short-term health, cancer-preventing, skin-enhancing, hair-strengthening…the list of consumer-friendly keywords goes on, but the fact remains, vegetables and their health benefits aren’t going anywhere. If you’re an on-the-go professional or you feed a family of four regularly, here are some tips for getting more veggies into your daily diet.
Breakfast smoothies are a nutritious alternative to cereal or pastries in the morning. Pack a blender with greek yogurt (for a protein boost), frozen berries, soy or almond milk and baby spinach. Blend with ice until smooth. The spinach is an easy way to add a veggie to your morning meal.
Are you a sandwich type of person when it comes to lunch on the go? Many restaurants offer “un-wich” options where they make the same sandwich wrapped in lettuce leaves instead of on two slices of bread. Or, make your own veggie wrap with shredded vegetables wrapped inside romaine lettuce with hummus or light ranch spread throughout.
This is an easy snack, especially if you crave chips or something crunchy. Slice carrots on the diagonal into “chips” and dip with your favorite hummus or light creamy dip. You can also spread goat cheese or light whipped cream cheese on top to satisfy a cheese and crackers craving.
Shredded veggies are one of the best secrets for parents who have picky eaters. Shred carrots or zucchini into pasta sauce and other fillings to easily add a serving of vegetables to a family meal.
If spaghetti and meatballs is a regular meal at your dinner table, try substituting regular pasta for spaghetti squash or mix the two with your marinara sauce. If you’re making homemade meatballs, try shredding veggies into the meat mix or adding a package of drained frozen spinach. Your kids won’t even know the veggies are there!
Mac and cheese is a go-to comfort dish for many. Try mixing in two cups of pureed butternut squash into half of the normal serving size of bechamel in your recipe. Your sauce will still be creamy and flavorful but with an added serving of vegetable.
If you like stir-fry, try substituting riced cauliflower for regular white or brown rice. Simply steam a head of cauliflower and then mash into tiny pieces that look like rice!