If you're like most people, you might believe that eating healthy requires a lot of work. From planning out meals to grocery shopping to buying quality ingredients – it can seem like a mass effort sometimes. That’s not to say the effort’s not worth it -- but a big effort that sometimes seems easier to simply avoid, right?
We all know that eating the right foods, especially vegetables, is essential to better health. But what if you're not a huge fan of shopping, chopping, and prepping? As it usually goes, the things that are the best at keeping us healthy and nourished aren't always the easiest path to take. It takes some practice and trial and error to find your sweet spot for infusing health into your day on a daily basis – and one great place to start is finding some simple ways to add more veggies into your day.
Here are my 4 favorite ways that you can add veggies into your day...
1. Use Veggies to Kick Off Your Day
Vegetables are not just for lunch and dinner. Kick off every morning with veggies on your plate. Throw a handful of kale into your morning smoothie or use last night's leftover veggies to whip up an omelet. There are numerous ways to add veggies to your morning meal, and getting them in early means you’re well on your way to eating your daily servings of veggies by dinner time. I include at least 1 cup of greens at every meal, breakfast included. Get creative on how you start to use them!
2. Go for Frozen
Fresh veggies are typically the better option, but chopping and preparing vegetables from scratch isn't always practical for many of us. So, stock up on frozen veggies on your next supermarket run. Freezing vegetables is considered minimal processing, as many of the veggies will still retain a lot of their nutritional value. Having frozen vegetables on hand at all times leaves you no room for excuses when you’re in a time pinch. My favorite frozens? Chopped onions, finely diced celery, carrot and onion mix, and roasted peppers with onions. I use tehse to whip up quick and easy fajitas, sausage and peppers, and and toppings on pizzas,
3. Double Up
When you're preparing salads, soups, pasta sauce, or a healthy casserole, double the amount of vegetables that the recipe calls for. Stir extra veggies into your soups or put an extra portion into your sauce. You’ll only enhance the flavor and nutritional value, so it’s a win-win! Choose veggies that you ENJOY, do not try to force yourself to eat something you cannot stand, it will only result in wasted food. With that said, do not be afraid to be a little adventurous is what veggies you add to foods. Making homemade mac and cheese? Add in pureed butternut squash or pumpkin. Making chili? Add in peppers, onions, carrots and some greens. Making soup? It just calls for veggies!
4. Join the Meatless Monday Movement
If you’re a meat eater, have you started going meatless on Mondays yet? This is an excellent way to get more veggies onto your plate every week, and it's simple. Just cut out meat on Mondays and dedicate your plate to more fruits and vegetables. If Monday is not convenient, pick another day that works for you. Not only will you be lowering your grocery bill and getting more nutrients by eating more veggies, but you're also trying something new, and variety is the spice of life! Be careful of meat like substitutes. These may be not-meat based, but often are also not plant based, packed with preservatives, sodium, and lacking in nutrients.
Vegetables are a fabulous source of many beneficial nutrients for your body. When you cut back on processed foods and "sneak" more vegetables into your day - you're making better choices that set you up for a lifetime of healthy habits.
So, what are a few ideas that have sparked? What’s on the plate next week for Meatless Monday? I’d love to hear your ideas, so hit reply and let me know what you plan on cooking up!
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functional nutritionist, health coach, and lighter of paths.