I think its true to say most people find it difficult to squeeze enough vegetables into their diet, and so if we were serious about improving our health, we would do well to put vegetables first!
Here are some tips to help you eat more vegetables each day:
1. Make Veggie Noodles. You'll need a mandolin slicer or a spiral slicer to create your vegetable noodles, zucchini and eggplant are good vegetable choices. Or, if you want to try spaghetti squash, boil or bake until tender, then pull a fork through the squash to tear out spaghetti-like shreds.
2. Drink A Smoothie. Smoothies are a brilliant option, especially when you're lacking in time. Blend roughly 60% fruit, 40% green leafy vegetables, then add water or aloe vera juice, and voila, you've got yourself a healthy, great tasting snack, which you can enjoy on-the-go.
3. Make Some Soup. Try making chunky vegetable soup with whole grain pasta added, or put your favorite vegetables into a blender with some spices or fresh ginger for something a little different. If you're trying to cut down your calorie intake, eating soup (or salad) before your main meal is a really effective way to do this.
4. Eat with the Seasons. It's so easy to pick the same vegetables over and over again, and therefore limit your diet and your taste buds. Instead, find out what's in season and go for that instead. Don't be put off if you're unsure how to cook a particular vegetable. If you're like most people, you'll have a stack of unused cookbooks taking up room on your bookshelf. So, dust them off, and take your taste buds to another level!
5. Get Marinating. We normally associate marinating with meats, but vegetables also taste great with this extra bit of care. Mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, and string beans take to marinating particularly well. A tasty choice for marinating is a mix of olive oil (small amount), crushed garlic, grated fresh ginger and some low sodium soy sauce.
6. Make a Veggie Sauce. If you usually buy ready-made pasta sauce, instead blend a selection of your favorite fresh vegetables to make a healthier option.
7. Swap Pasta and Rice for Sweet Potatoes. I find potatoes to be an extremely comforting food. And, if you're after a little extra nutritional boost, sweet potatoes are a good choice (they are slightly more nutritious than white potatoes).
8. Munch on Raw Vegetables. This can be a fun way to eat vegetables. Dip raw veggies into your favorite flavored hummus; almond or peanut butter. Celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, snap peas and carrots are some easy quick choices.
9. Add Veggies to Your Grains. Add frozen vegetables to whole grain rice. All you need are a couple of handfuls of frozen vegetables, then add them to the water as you cook the rice. Fresh herbs such as coriander or dill added at the end of cooking finish this dish really well. You could do this with any grain (quinoa, brown rice, barley), and any vegetable would work, so be creative.
10. Wrap Them Up. Whether as an entree or main dish, wraps and veggies make a delicious option. You could choose whole grain tortilla wraps, or a cabbage or lettuce leaf, then simply heap in the vegetables (raw or cooked), roll up and enjoy! For extra flavor, top with hummus or salsa.
11. Eat Vegetables at Each Meal. To make sure you're meeting your veggie quota each day, have them at each meal, not just as a side dish. So, for breakfast perhaps mushrooms and tomatoes with whole grain bread. At lunch a salad wrap, or vegetable soup. And for dinner at least two sides of vegetables. And don't forget snacks, they can also be veggie rich.