Thursday, July 16, 2009

10 ways to get more Veggies

I hear time and time again how it is so much easier to eat fruits instead of vegetables. Nell Stephenson explains how that excuse "is partly due to being conditioned, as most of us Americans are, to think that breakfast foods don't include vegetables, and just feature a host of grain and dairy-based processed items. Your body doesn't care if it's 7 a.m. or 5 p.m., so there's never a bad time for broccoli! Well, except, perhaps, if you're just about to engage in a bout of strenuous exercise, but you get the point."

Below are 10 ways to get more vegetables in your diet recommended from the Paleo Diet.

  • Throw some spinach into the morning's scrambled eggs.
  • If you have a juicer, use it to focus on juicing veggies, rather than just fruit. (Keep in mind, I'm NOT suggesting to juice ALL your veggies, as that would result in missing out on all the fiber that vegetables have to offer.

    This is just something to use as 'food for thought.' You'll find that a juice made predominantly of green veggies and with a hint of fruit, like apple for sweetness, will create a tasty juice that even picky eaters enjoy. It's a great alternative to sugary orange juice!
  • Add easy-to-eat veggies (think COLOR), like carrot and celery sticks and sliced bell pepper, to your kids and spouse's lunch, as well as your own.
  • Serve lunch entrees on a bed of leafy dark green veggies that you've sautéed, and let the veggies take the place of bread in a sandwich!
  • Bake thinly sliced veggies, such as eggplant, zucchini or carrot at a low temperature to dehydrate them (or use a dehydrator) in lieu of crackers or chips, and enjoy this with homemade salsa or guacamole.

    Remember that while cooking does remove SOME of the nutrients from food, eating some veggies in this form is still far better than snacking on potato chips, as long as your eating fresh, raw veggies at other times.
  • Use different types of veggies as a base for healthy sauces you might've used on pasta in the past, such as a cheese-free pesto (basil, pine-nuts, walnuts, olive oil, lemon and pepper), a homemade marinara (tomatoes are great) or good old olive oil and garlic. This works great on spaghetti-squash, or finely chopped leafy greens.
  • Keep steamed, ready to eat veggies on hand in the fridge at all times so that when you're cooking dinner, or the kids are feeling snacky or you want something easy to re-heat as a part of a meal, you won't have long to wait. For example, have a large bowl of steamed broccoli ready in the fridge.
  • Use vegetables as edible serving containers. Remember stuffed bell peppers? Sauté lean ground turkey with your favorite spices and place into a bell pepper. Heat (or not) and let the family enjoy eating the veggie dish! Another example is using Bibb or butter lettuce in lieu of a grain-based tortilla or wrap, served with shredded chicken breast and an Asian themed ginger, sesame, garlic sauce.
  • Add your favorite veggies to a salad. Remember, the more color and variety you include, the better nutritionally balanced a meal will be.
  • Finally, don't over think it. Keep it simple, and just eat veggies, any time. You can eat a greater volume of veggies and get fewer calories than in many other snacks. See how many ways you can incorporate eating veggies at different times of the day!

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