You hear all the time about how good vegetables are for you. They supposed to give you various health benefits, like help you fight off ailments, reduce pain on a daily basis, and even help keep your digestive system working.
That’s all well and good, but just how are you supposed to get them in your diet? It’s not as easy as buy and eat for many people.
We tend to have this view that anything healthy for us has to taste horrible. It’s not as fun to eat it unless it’s full of sugar or fat, right? Having something healthy just seems like we’re being a bit of a bore, and our friends start to question our life choices.
And does it mean that we can’t have the other things that we like? Surely it means that we’re now stuck with just vegetables and that’s it.
Well, there are a lot of misconceptions with vegetables. Many of these misconceptions come from being young—and being told that we can’t have dessert until we’ve eaten all our vegetables. There’s this sense that they have to taste horrible if we’re being forced into eating them.
You can have your vegetables and enjoy them at the same time. You can even trick your body into actually loving them, so you want them more and more.
Here are six simple steps to get more vegetables in your diet, making them fun and tasty.
Opt for Green, Purple, Orange, and even Red Smoothies!
Green smoothies are considered the most beneficial for the diet, but that doesn’t mean you have to opt just for them. There are various colours that you can mix together to create something healthy to drink.
Now I say smoothies to get your vegetables rather than juices. When you opt for smoothies, you get the whole vegetable blended down. With juicing, you’re removing the fibre, so you get rid of all the good stuff. When you have just the juice, you get all the natural sugars—and yes, there are natural sugars in all types of vegetables.
Blending helps you get all the health benefits from the vegetables. You can also sneak in your five a day without really thinking about it. In fact, you can get two or three portions of it in one sitting, without letting your brain even notice what you’re getting. And many people recommend starting the day with a healthy smoothie.
The way you make your smoothie is up to you. Green smoothies are highly promoted by health professionals because green vegetables contain the best number of nutrients. Whether you add collards, spinach or kale as your base is up to you! You can add in milk or Greek yoghurt if you want and there are plenty of other vegetables and fruits that work well with your green bases.
Create something that looks and tastes delicious. You’re more likely to stick with drinking it on a daily basis when you enjoy the look.
Smoothies have the benefit of being portable. You can drink while you get to work or even while you’re at work if you need to.
When you start with some green smoothies (or any other colour), find some recipes that have proven to work. Mixing any fruits and vegetables together is a sure-fire way to create something that tastes disgusting and rule out smoothies for the rest of your life!
Make your own smoothies, rather than buying store-bought ones. While the store-bought ones may say that they’re made from fruits and vegetables, they tend to have added sugar or sodium in them. They’re not as good for you as the ones you make.
Boost Up Your Breakfast Options
Many of us will reach for the eggs for a hearty breakfast. We want something that will kick-start our day and fuel us until lunchtime. Well, it’s time to give our eggs a bit of a multi-coloured boost.
One of the easiest ways to add some vegetables to our diets is by boosting our breakfasts with them. When scrambling eggs, chop up some mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, and even broccoli to throw in with them. It doesn’t matter if you’re using whole eggs or just the whites, the vegetables will be an excellent addition.
You can start off small if you want. Use some onions and mushrooms, to begin with, and then work your way up to all the other additions. The more vegetables you have, the more filling your breakfast will be. Remember that vegetables are full of fibre, which breaks down slowly. So, you’ll feel fuller for longer, often reaching to lunchtime without the need to snack!
If you’re not a scrambled eggs fan, what about creating breakfast omelettes? You can throw in all sorts of chopped vegetables for a more filling option. If you don’t want to do it at breakfast, make an omelette for your lunch or dinner instead.
When you’re grabbing porridge, fruit tends to be the best addition. You’ll get many of the same benefits as eating vegetables, but fruits tend to have more natural sugars. You want something with more protein and fibre where possible.
Add More Vegetables than Required
If you’re following a recipe, you’ll likely have a set amount of vegetables to throw in. This is especially the case with the likes of homemade pizzas, stews, soups, casseroles, and even stir fries.
While you want to follow the recipes, you also want to get more vegetables into your diet. It’s time to add more than the recipe states. Getting more vegetables won’t upset the balance of the meal in the majority of cases. In fact, soups and stews can taste thicker, while pizzas will become much more filling than ever before.
Doubling up the vegetables in the recipes is usually the easiest way to get the extra veggies into your diet. You’ll barely notice, and the kids will just see vegetables as the norm. You’ll find that they get more vegetables in their diet naturally, without even questioning your decision.
You can also add vegetables that aren’t actually in the recipe. When you have a pizza, try throwing some olives or peppers on top, even if they’re not in the recipes. You can add all sorts of chopped vegetables to stews, and mushrooms and onions work well into almost every dish that you can make.
The more creative you get, the more you’ll enjoy cooking. And you’ll certainly find that you love vegetables on a daily basis.
Take Vegetable Sticks for Snacks
It’s time to think about the snacks that you eat on a daily basis. Most of us will reach for something that has sugar in it to keep us going until lunchtime or dinner time. We feel the need to have something sweet, which always ends up giving us a quick boost of energy but then a sudden drop that leaves us more tired than when we started.
So, think about the type of snacks that you take to work with you. What about adding more vegetable sticks to your day instead?
You can chop up a range of vegetables, including carrots, celery, broccoli, cucumber, and even cauliflower. They’re all delicious when raw—well, the majority of them; some will take some time to get used to.
If you really struggle to eat them raw, opt for a tub of salsa on your daily basis, too. You can even make your own salsa to take away some of the bitterness of the raw vegetables. Hummus on the side is another popular and healthy option.
Cherry tomatoes and slices of pepper can work well for snacks, and they don’t usually need any dips at all.
You’re not tricking your body into eating more vegetables. In fact, they’re in plain sight, and you know that you’re eating them. You’ll soon realise just how delicious they are, and forget all about the health benefits that you’re getting from them. You’ll also feel fuller for longer. The vegetables don’t sugar in the body that quickly, so you don’t get the sudden drop in energy.
Have a Day Without Any Meat?
There are many health professionals recommending to opt for a more vegetarian lifestyle. While there are benefits in fish, poultry, and some meats, there are also many more benefits to cutting them out. You don’t need to cut them out completely, though.
Instead of opting for a full week of no meat, opt for one day a week. Many people call theirs “Meatless Mondays” for the alliteration, and so that they get to start the week healthily. This is also the day that is easier to plan for since you will likely have one of the weekend days off work.
So, it’s time to create your own plan for a meatless day, whichever day of the week you choose. Only prepare vegetable dishes and think of the exciting ways that you can use up your vegetables.
One of the benefits of a meatless day is that you have to find new recipes. You’ll get excited about being in the kitchen again and find all sorts of ways to cook with various vegetables. You can even have the chance to try out different types of vegetables to see what they’re like.
You really will be surprised at the dishes that you can have. There are homemade pizzas, Oriental salads, Mediterranean pasta bakes, and so much more. It’s time to get creative in the kitchen and enjoy a day focusing just on your health.
Make It a Habit to Try Something New
We tend to get stuck on using the same vegetables over and over again. It’s no wonder we don’t find any excitement in them: we get bored of them.
Well, it’s time to make some changes. One of the best ways to get more vegetables in your diet (without sneaking them in) is to get into a habit of trying something new. This is very similar to the above tip of opting for a meatless day. It’s time to pull out the recipe books and trying a recipe for the first time once a week.
You only need to do it once a week. We have all one day a week where we’re not running around like headless chickens trying to fit everything in. We have one day where we can either get the kids involved in the cooking or just spend an extra 30 minutes or so in the kitchen.
If you really don’t have the time for a new recipe, get into the habit of trying a new vegetable each week. Look for something in season that you’ve never tried before or visit your local Asian or European market stall and pick out something that is local for them.
With a new vegetable, you will get a new taste. You’ll find the excitement in eating vegetables again, and you’re more likely to keep trying this on a weekly basis. This is something that you may even do daily!
Which Trick Will You Try First
You may notice that none of these tips involves hiding your vegetables. You’re not quite tricking your body because you’re seeing what happens with all the vegetables. The only one that you could trick yourself into eating more is the smoothies, but that’s due to the nature of the blending.
In the majority of cases, you’re making a conscious effort to add more vegetables to your diet. You will certainly find that you benefit in your health, and you’ll also find that weight loss comes much easier.
Now it’s up to you. You get the final say in how you add more vegetables into your diet, and these are just six simple ways that you can do it. There’s no extreme cooking involved, and I’m not asking you to get overly creative. All I want is for you to pick one of the options above and start with that. Get into some new habits and add more vegetables to your diet quickly and effectively.