How to Eat More Veggies, Even if You Don’t Love ‘Em
“To eat is a necessity but to eat intelligently is an art.” Quote Addicts
10 second summary: Find creative ways to squeeze more veggies into your meals today. Don’t focus on what you shouldn’t eat, focus on what you can and should. Pick one simple tip below and start today. Or simply choose one meal to add veggies to—like eating a side salad with your lunch.
How to eat more veggies even if you don’t love ’em
Eat more veggies. We all agree with that, right? It seems like as moms we’re always trying to get more veggies into our kiddos. But what about us? And how is this even possible for those of us who have a love-hate relationship with veggies (like I do) or just flat-out can’t stand ‘em (like some of my friends).
But before we dive into today’s topic, let’s chat for a minute about my philosophy about healthy eating. For me, it’s all about balance. And I don’t mean that as in trying to have the perfect balance of carbs, proteins, fruits and veggies, and cutting out sugars.
I mean balancing what I and my family eat in a way that’s “real world.”
So for me that means finding things to eat that are relatively healthy, boosting fruit and veggie intake, drinking more water, keeping an eye on portion size (but not being fanatical about it), and splurging on flat-out junk food sometimes (when we go to a fast food restaurant for burgers and fries I tell my daughter we’re splurging on a “junk food dinner”).
Ladies, there’s enough stress for us in life already. So no judgment about eating please, and I’m committing to focus exclusively on things we CAN and should eat, not what we should steer clear of.
OK, off my soap box and back to veggies.
Top 10 reasons to eat more veggies
To remind us why we need veggies in our life and bellies, let’s check out tips from Fruits & Veggies—More Matters in their article “Top 10 Reasons to Eat MORE Fruits and Vegetables”:
10—Color and Texture. Fruits and veggies add color and texture to our plates and lives.
9—Convenience. Whether fresh, frozen, canned, dried, or 100% juice, fruits and veggies always provide nutrition and can be convenient to grab-and-go (especially when pre-prepped).
8—Fiber. Fruits and veggies provide healthy fiber that helps keep you full and your digestive system happy and healthy.
7—Low in Calories. What’s not to love? The recommendation = fill up half your plate with veggies. I admit that’s a bit too ambitious for me at every meal, but a great thing to strive for.
6—May Reduce Disease Risk. Eating fruits and veggies can help reduce the risk of issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers.
5—Vitamins & Minerals. This one’s a biggie—did you know that some forms of vitamins and minerals can only be gotten from food, not those little pills we also take?
4—Variety. Available in an almost infinite variety, there’s always something new to try. (Check out a store like Whole Foods or a local farmer’s market to find stuff you don’t see every day in your regular grocery store.)
3—Quick, Natural Snack. I think this one is a cheater and same as the convenience one above, but I’ll let it slide this time…’cause it’s so true! Apple slices and baby carrots are faves at my house and much healthier for us to eat than several alternative snacks I can think of.
2—Fun to Eat! “Some crunch, some squirt, some you peel” etc. I’ll share this with my daughter and see if she’s convinced. Maybe I’ll make them into happy faces or animals with a little inspiration from Pinterest…
1—Fruits & Veggies are Nutritious AND Delicious!
OK, enougha that, some good reminders, though this list missed my personal #1 favorite reason to eat veggies (aside from the fact I know they are good for me whether I love ‘em or not)…
Eating veggies gives us more natural ENERGY!
As a busy woman, for me that’s huge. I know I feel so much better when I eat my veggies regularly, even if it’s just making sure I eat a side salad or baggie full of veggies with my lunch, and a side salad or veggie side with dinner.
How to eat more veggies without driving yourself crazy
OK, so I promised tips for HOW to get this done, and to try to make ‘em as yummy as possible, so here goes:
My 12 faves from Marc Perry’s “35 Ways to Eat More Vegetables” article on BuiltLean.com…
- Add Veggies to Your Eggs. I can do that.
- Replace Fries With Salad. Good reminder.
- Dip Veggies. Fun! Excuse for yummy sauce, though of course the recommendations are healthy ones like salsa, hummus or guacamole. (I love guacamole!) If you use ranch I won’t tell…
- Buy Pre-Cut Veggies. So true. Or prep what you buy quickly, meaning wash it and chop it the day you buy it, whenever possible. I try to keep a container of pre-cut veggies in the fridge for salad toppers or to throw on the side of a plate, and it makes all the difference of if we actually eat them or not!
- Cook One New Vegetable Per Month. This sounds kinda fun and once a month is do-able, right?
- Add A “Veggie Hour” to Your Week. Includes setting aside time to wash, chop, and prep food, and hey, it reminded me that stuff like onions are veggies too. Love it!
- Add Veggies to Chopped Meat. Easy-peasy, you can hardly taste ‘em (and if you prepped ‘em ahead of time you just sauté and/or throw in a handful when cooking so no extra time drain).
- Double the Veggies in Your Recipes. Great idea, I’ll try it!
- Eat Vegetable Soup As An Appetizer. Helps fill you up, just like a salad, but good for a change of pace.
- Drink Water Instead of Soda/Juice. Wow, it says drinking water has been shown to increase our appetite for vegetables. Who knew? And hey, drinking more water was yesterday’s MDT focus so I suppose it’s meant to be.
- Boil With Bacon. Who doesn’t like bacon? Marc says just to throw a piece of bacon in with your veggies in boiling water and they will soak up that bacony-goodness flavor. I bet my husband would eat that!
- Replace Bread With Lettuce Wraps. I could commit to one sandwich this way, I suppose. (I’m not givin’ up my bread, but once a week, I could do.)
Ways to eat veggies that are actually delicious
And last but not least, check out Carolyn Kylstra’s article “29 Ways to Eat Vegetables That Are Actually Delicious” on BuzzFeed.com. It has some photos that look totally yummy, and a fun tag line that says “Eat yer veggies, no salads necessary.” Love it, thanks Carolyn! Some of the most mouthwatering in my book are:
- Avocado Superfood Breakfast Toast
- Cauliflower Crust Grilled Cheese
- Skinny Omelette Wraps
- Zucchini Pizza Crust
- Healthy Butternut Squash Mac ‘N’ Cheese
- Chicken Club Lettuce Wrap (I’ve had these, they are amazing!)
- Stuffed Zucchini Boats
I’m gonna stop looking at those amazing photos ‘cause they’ve made me hungry. I guess that’s a great thing if it makes me eat more veggies, right? In fact, that was another of Marc’s tips in his list—look at pictures of “savory veggies” to remind yourself how great they CAN taste! (Inspires me to cook some veggies and get out of that better-than-nothing but sometimes-boring side salad rut.)
OK, so summary wrap up, let’s keep it simple by committing to add veggies to at least one meal today. We’ll reap the health benefits, including my favorite of MORE ENERGY and veggies can even taste great along the way.
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