With the constant stream of news about the perils of processed meat and sugar, those three simple sentences are more relevant than ever when it comes to meal planning. But if you struggle to with figuring out how to eat more vegetables, you’re not alone — nine out of 10 Americans don’t eat the recommended four to five servings of veggies a day.
There’s good reason to eat more vegetables. They’re chock-full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. They also add dietary fiber and can help fill you up for a small amount of calories.
And you don’t have to hit the produce section for everything. Frozen vegetables are just as nutrient-loaded, if not more so. The flash freezing helps lock in nutrients that can diminish after days languishing in produce section and ultimately your fridge.
A serving of vegetables is only a half cup (or, in the case of raw, leafy veggies, one full cup) — not a lot, right? Here are some ways to easily increase your intake.
How to Eat More Vegetables
Veggie quiches or frittatas: Starting your day with a serving of vegetables is a great way to get the ball rolling, and these are great to make ahead and pop a serving in the microwave. Choose your favorite — spinach, broccoli, peppers and tomatoes are all great additions. In addition to the vegetables, you’re also kicking off the day with a solid serving of protein. Try this Hakuna Matata Frittata that features zucchini and red onion.
Veg up a smoothie: A smoothie is a perfect way to load up your morning with a dose of veggie power. Mild leafy greens, such as spinach and chard, easily disappear into smoothies, especially if you add chocolate protein powder and fruit. But you might also try pureed beets, butternut squash or pumpkin, which is plentiful on grocers’ shelves right now. Buy some extra cans of pumpkin during the holidays and you can enjoy it year round. If pumpkin isn’t your thing, check out this list of 50 Unique Smoothie Ingredients for more veggie-filled ideas.
Chip, chip, hooray: We’ve all heard of kale chips, but have you tried zucchini chips? Beet or parsnip chips? They’re all made basically the same way as kale chips, but if you own a food dehydrator, you can go low and slow and end up with trays full of colorful, crisp vegetable chips.
Explore cauliflower’s creative side: Remember the old cauliflower? You either nibbled raw florets with ranch dip or boiled it as a side dish. But the snow white cruciferous vegetable has gotten quite creative. You can roast it, mash it like potatoes, puree it into a creamy soup, or shape it into a pizza crust.
What’s your favorite vegetable? Bonus points if you share how you like to prepare it! —Gail