Like many folks, I used to hate vegetables and then, oddly enough, I became a vegan. Now, that was well over a decade ago. While I’m no longer a vegan, my past adoption of this lifestyle truly changed the ways in which I approached and embraced vegetable eating. It’s undeniable that veggies are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet, as they are rich in disease-fighting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. As such, hating them is really not an option if you’re seeking to achieve and maintain good health.
So, if you’re finding it increasingly difficulty to meet the recommended daily minimum of 3-5 servings of vegetables, here are eight super-easy ways to incorporate them into your everyday diet.
Drink Your Veggies
Fresh juices and smoothies are great ways to sneak a ton of vegetables into your diet. To mask the taste, simply blend these beverages with fruit, yogurt, nut butters or other tasty nutrient-dense foods. To reduce the sugar content of your juices and smoothies, it’s best to use a fruit-to-vegetable ratio of at least 1:2 or even 1:3, as vegetables tend to be much lower in sugar and total calories. In other words, for every 2 servings of fruit you include add 4-6 servings of vegetables.
Go the Ole Salad Route
Vegetables are most commonly eaten in salads but they don’t have to be boring. When making a salad at home or choosing one from a restaurant menu, go for one that’s rich in high-quality greens like romaine lettuce, spinach or kale. From there you can include additional vegetables like carrot, broccoli, onion, mushroom, cucumber, beets and tomato in addition to berries, nuts, all-natural cheeses and other flavorful food sources.
Enjoy Veggie Omelets and Pizza
When it comes to traditional hearty dishes like omelets and pizza, go the vegetarian route by including lots of vegetables like sweet or hot peppers, spinach, mushroom, zucchini, onion, garlic and other. Since most veggies tend to be very low in calories and high in fiber, including large portions in these dishes can substantially curb your appetite thereby reducing the urge to overeat. This is especially beneficial if you’re trying to maintain a healthy body weight.
Eat ‘Em as a Side Dish
Whether you’re eating at home or dining out, vegetables make the perfect side dish for any entree. Some of the most convenient and versatile include broccoli, asparagus, spinach, carrot, kale, cauliflower, sweet potato, corn, mixed squash and mushroom. These veggies are most nutritious when consumed raw, steamed, lightly sautéed, baked, or grilled. To really boost the flavor and overall nutritional value of the veggies you eat, don’t hesitate to spruce ’em up with fresh herbs and spices!
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