We all know we could benefit from eating more vegetables but sometimes its hard to figure out how to get them in our rotation! Here are some tips to increase your intake.
- Pile them on your sandwich – I’m always surprised when I get a sandwich made at a deli or even a restaurant and there’s a ton of meat and maybe one sad leaf of lettuce. I like my sandwiches to be more dominated by leafy greens, tomatoes, onions, maybe some avocado with a little bit of meat. So when you’re making a sandwich or when you’re ordering a sandwich make sure you ask them to go heavy on the greens and lighter on the meat. This will turn your sandwich into a healthy meal. Also requesting whole wheat bread or a multi grain bread will increase the amount of fiber you’re getting in and reduce the amount of starch – we all need more fiber and less starch in our lives.
- Make a large batch of a hearty salad – Most of us think of salad as being delicate leafy greens that are great in the moment but most certainly do not make for great leftovers. But this is not the only way to make a salad. You can make a salad out of more hearty vegetables that will last and even become more delicious the longer they marinate in their dressing. Some vegetables that are great for this type of dish are kale, fennel, Brussels sprouts, water cress, purslane, cabbage, radishes, garbanzo or any other type of bean, celery, cucumber, carrots, beets – all of these vegetables are super good for you, loaded with nutrients and fiber and can stand sitting around in the salad dressing for several days even up to a week in the fridge. You can prepare a large dish at the beginning of the week and portion it out bring it to work, eat it with your dinner, put on the side of eggs in the morning – you’ve got a pre-made delicious and healthy salad on hand.
- Add them to breakfast – We don’t always think of eating vegetables for breakfast but there are some good ways you can get them in here as well – maybe you’re making a smoothie spinach, especially baby spinach, is fantastic in a smoothie, it does make a green which can be a jarring if you’re not used to that but it has a subtle and unnoticeable flavor so it’s not turning your delicious fruit smoothie into a salad smoothie but it is running up your fiber and increasing the health of your morning meal. Another way to add in fiber to a smoothie is adding in avocado. Avocado will make it slightly green but mostly adds a beautiful smooth creaminess to it. Avocados, surprisingly enough, are loaded with fiber and also super healthy fats so great for your heart health and for your nervous system, an excellent addition to any smoothie. Another way to get in more vegetables at breakfast is to add chopped up peppers, spinach, onion, garlic, avocado, again all these things are fantastic with eggs and a quick, easy thing to throw into an omelette or even a scramble in the morning. Maybe you’re a toast person, so you’ve had avocado toast (there’s a vegetable in the morning) and maybe add some spinach, arugula maybe or some watercress. Throw on some tomato or onion slices (or pickled onions) on top.
- Fermented veggies – Another great way to always have vegetables on hand and increase your intake of probiotic foods is to keep some fermented vegetables in your home. Whether it is kimchi or sauerkraut these are easy to make at home or you can purchase them and you can add them to literally anything – they last a very long time in the refrigerator they have all kinds of super health benefits – probiotic, good for digestion, supporting our micro-biome. They also add an amazing flavor profile to your meals and they’re literally great with so many different things and not only are you getting vegetables and you’re getting a dose of super healthy probiotics in as well to keep your gut going smoothly
- Always have frozen vegetables in the freezer – these are your just in case vegetables. Of course fresh produce is great but sometimes we don’t have time to shop or we have all had the experience of buying beautiful organic produce only to have a week go totally wrong, we get loaded up with projects or commitments and we watch our beautiful produce slowly rot in our refrigerator. Its a waste of food and money and a frustrating experience. Frozen vegetables are always good so they are great to have on hand in those times when you don’t have any fresh vegetables on hand but want something healthy – just reach in your freezer and grab some frozen spinach, frozen kale, frozen broccoli – whatever you’re into! Just sauté them up and throw them in with dinner and you have a balanced meal.