Ten Easy Ways to Eat More Vegetables
Being a whole-food focused health coach, I know the importance of getting vegetables into the meals and snacks of our everyday life.
The effort is essential, but equally important is variety. Each vegetable has its own unique nutritional DNA that works for your body. If you just eat a few vegetables, you’re missing a whole world of wonderful chemistry dynamics.
Eating more vegetables overall is a great first step, and a nice second step is to find out what you have been eating. A great way to do that is with a food journal.
Take just two weeks, journal often and chances are you’ll find you’re low on veggies. Or you might find you’re getting plenty, but that you have too many favorites and the variety needle just isn’t moving.
Here’s a quick-and-easy 10-step guide to getting both variety and more veggies into your life.
- Journal your food for 10-14 days.
- Use a phytonutrient guide to determine what vegetables you have been missing.
- Circle the veggies on the guide that you haven’t been getting and that you like.
- Pick one vegetable each week to work into your menu.
- Find some recipes using that vegetable and then use them. It’s OK to keep other vegetables – the ones you know well – but try to add new vegetables throughout the week. After all, we know that our goal is to have four cups of vegetables a day, so there’s still room for your regular favorites, perhaps carrots, celery, romaine lettuce and green beans, for example. Then you can add things like jicama, arugula or leeks, or whatever you choose.
Once you have decided what you’re going to add, it’s time to get creative. There’s an ocean of online information, and there are “best ways” to prepare your vegetables. Many vegetables are delicate and it takes a bit of finesse to make them their best.
- Make fresh or frozen veggies your choice before canned. Canned vegetables have been cooked under high heat and pressure and that cuts nutrients. Added salt is also not a great thing for any of us. In addition, the can itself can be a contaminate source.
- Stir fry more. Stir frying is not deep-fat frying, so when you stir fry vegetables, you’re gently cooking them in healthy oils. It’s is a great way to get healthy fats in addition to the veggies. Oils like coconut, grapeseed and ghee are great.
- Bake or roast vegetables more often. This approach is such a tasty treat, and one of my favorite baked vegetables is broccoli.. If you haven’t tried it – it’s just yum. With a little grapeseed oil and garlic salt, the broccoli just melts in your mouth.
- Add vegetables to a smoothie. Having a smoothie is easy and delicious, and the easiest smoothie I know is simply a scoop of protein powder, a banana and two heaping handfuls of spinach. Viola! You’re done and it’s quite tasty. This article wouldn’t be complete without touting the benefits of juicing. Juicing is not making a smoothie, because smoothies keep the fiber. So if you have a choice, go with smoothies, not juices. We need fiber.
- While juicing and smoothies both have powerful benefits, I describe juicing as a chance to “make my cells sing” – there are some good reasons to do it, but I don’t juice all the time.
When I do juice, I feel my energy increase, and my skin almost seems to glow. Juicing is also truly a gift for your immune system. So while smoothies are better in terms of fiber, don’t be afraid to mix and match juicing and smoothies.
I hope these tips will help you get more veggies into every day of your life!