Normally, this post would be the Recipe of the Month. But something has become very apparent to me over the last few months that I feel needs to be addressed now.
No one is eating enough vegetables.
It first came to my attention during the Great Fitness Blogging Experiment. 3-5 servings a day of veggies proved quite the challenge to Linden. Through the holidays and into the New Year, this trend has continued for many new (and a few existing) clients. As I review food logs and discuss the most important of the 4 Keys to Real Fitness, I keep seeing a lack of veggies. Either they don’t like vegetables or they have no idea what to do them with them.
So instead of a recipe, I’m going to help everyone solve the vegetable crisis with quick and easy ideas. I‘ve got 4 tips to incorporate more vegetables into your diet without breaking your budget or creating a lot of extra work.
- Frozen vegetables are your friend.
Frozen vegetables are inexpensive and, especially in the off seasons, just as good as fresh. They also won’t go bad, addressing excuse number one: waste. Too many people buy a lot of fresh veggies with the best intentions only to see them go bad by the end of the week. Instead you can buy frozen mixed veggies to add to soups (homemade or canned for a boost in nutrition) or frozen mixed peppers and onions to add to chicken for tacos or fajitas. The single serve packages of veggies can be a quick and easy accompaniment to any meal.
- Veggies are finger food.
Maybe they don’t crunch like chips, but broccoli, peppers, cucumbers and baby carrots are just as good with any number of dips. Broccoli and hummus is divine. Buy them precut if it’s going to save you time. Dry roasted edamame are a great snack food, a good source of protein and are, yes, a vegetable. Kale chips anyone?
- Replace noodles with veggies.
Noodles aren’t necessarily bad for you but you can lower your calories and boost your nutrient intake by using various vegetables in place of spaghetti or lasagna noodles. Spaghetti squash keeps well and can be topped with any basic marinara sauce or tossed will olive oil, basil and cheese. Use eggplant or zucchini (sliced lengthwise with a mandolin slicer) in place of lasagna noodles.
- Add vegetables anywhere you can.
Anytime you make a sauce, soup or chili add extra veggies. Shredded carrots are great in spaghetti sauce. Sweet potatoes and squash make chili chunkier. Spinach, mushrooms, asparagus and peppers are fantastic in scrambled eggs. Stack sandwiches high with spinach, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, sprouts and red onion.
If you follow these suggestions and add them to the already popular stir frys, baked sweet potatoes and salads you should be well your way to eating your 3-5 servings of vegetables a day.
What tips did I miss? How do you make sure to get your veggies?