When you’re a kid, it’s easy to slip through life without eating vegetables. Adults chalk your palette up to “just being a kid” and the health risks of a diet low in veggies is a non-existent issue. But as you grow older, people start to tease you about your unhealthy diet and you find yourself lying to your doc about your, eh, “dietary habits.” But the thought of swapping out your scrumptious meat and cheese meals with leafy green things gives you chills. So what to do? Well first of all, throw out everything you think you know about vegetables. Just because you’ve had some tasteless experiences here and there doesn’t mean all vegetables are bland and lifeless. Plus you just can’t expect to keep trotting along through life without them. So to help you out, we’ve come up with a list of simple ways you can get more vegetables into your diet. Be not afraid!
Skip The Snack Food Aisle
Before you even get to the point of adding the good stuff in, you have to keep the bad out. The best way to do this is to avoid temptation all together. You’ve heard of Temptation Island? Well here’s a new one: Temptation Aisle. You know, the snack food, or whatever else tempts you, aisle. Avoid at all costs. Then you won’t feel tempted to cheat at home.
Swap A Snack
Keep vegetable snacks handy. Fix easy-to-grab containers of washed and ready cherry tomatoes, celery, baby carrots, pepper slices, radishes and so forth near the front of your refrigerator for a handy, healthy snacking option. And don’t forget to bring them to work, too.
+1 With Every Meal
Make it a goal to add at least one vegetable component to every meal and eat more of that serving than the protein portion.
Seasonings & Toppings
No one said you have to eat your vegetables plain. You can also step it up a notch from plain old salt and pepper. Try lemon pepper, Cajun seasoning or a spoonful of salad dressing. It’s also okay to add a dash of cheese or butter. While it may not be the healthiest of all options, it’s better than no veggies at all. But try to stay away from heavily processed cheeses and choose options such as goat cheese, feta, buffalo mozzarella etc.
Try New Things
As we mentioned earlier, if you’ve had a bad experience with one vegetable that doesn’t mean they’re all bad or that a certain vegetable will always taste the same. Try them in different ways or incorporate into your favorite dishes. Grill them. Roast them. Sauté them. Puree them into a dip or spread. You’ll be surprised at how much the taste changes when you cook vegetables in different ways.
Sneak The New Things In
If you still can’t stomach the idea of adding vegetables in as sides, you can always resort to sneaking them in. Search out one of the many cookbooks written just on this topic. Mash cauliflower into your mashed potato recipe. You won’t be able to taste the difference and you’ll add a few extra servings of veggies to your diet. Add diced tomatoes or green peppers to your favorite casserole. Add a celery and carrot base to your homemade spaghetti sauce. Replace half of the oil in baked goods recipes with applesauce for healthier muffins and cakes.
Always substitute fried foods with grilled, steamed or sautéed vegetables. If you can’t resist your favorite unhealthy side, add in a small salad – research shows that eating one with dinner will help to curb your appetite and reduce over-eating.
Finally, always remember to wash your fresh vegetables thoroughly before eating them. Also, frozen vegetables are totally acceptable. In fact, they’re preferred over salt and sugar injected canned varieties. Now that we’ve shared our tips, what are yours? Do you have any veggies injected recipes that you’d like to share?