Everyone is aware of the importance of fruits and vegetables in a healthy diet. FIber, vitamins, and other nutrients are all crammed into these natural food items. However, fruits are also full of natural sugars which can have the same harmful effects as regular sugar when consumed in excess, so it is generally encouraged to incorporate more vegetables in your diet than fruits. Here we introduce some creative tips on how you can up your veggie intake, while still pleasing your taste buds and not changing your lifestyle completely!
Vegetable Soup and Broth
One of the best ways of preparing many different vegetables at once is in soup or broth form. A mixture of pureed vegetables in a warm comforting cup just smoothly slipping down your throat is far more appealing than a plateful of the same vegetables chopped up and waiting to be gnawed on! Some people feel like a rabbit when they’re munching on several vegetables, and soup is a great way of mixing a variety of combinations to avoid boredom and increase flavor. Play with herbs and spices with your mixed vegetables and have fun with it! Have soups and broths at any time of the day before meals or between them.
While lasagna is traditionally made with lasagna noodles layered between luscious cheesy sauce and minced meat, it can be an exceptionally high-carb comfort dish. Cut the carbs by swapping the noodles for wide slices of zucchini instead. Zucchini strips will deliver on taste, texture, and many nutrients like vitamins C and B, minerals, and even fiber. Swap out your spaghetti noodles for spiralized zucchini for an interesting and tasty low-carb vehicle to carry all that delicious marinara without any guilt!
The humble cauliflower has a firm place in a healthy diet! Mashed cauliflower cuts the calories in regular mashed potato and can even be grated to be eaten as rice instead of the white, starchy, and high-GI regular rice. Cauliflower pizza bases are also a great option to replace gluten flour bases which are high in calories and can cause bloating, not to mention spikes in blood sugar levels if the flour is refined (quite likely).
Squeeze more veggies into your day by drinking them! No, we don’t mean that box of carrot or beetroot juice. Juiced vegetables you find in supermarkets are all the sugars and flavors of the vegetable with only some of the nutrients and none of the fiber! Consuming veggies in smoothie form will keep you fuller and increase your fiber intake! Adding half a fruit to a smoothie helps sweeten it a bit. Try various combinations of apple, pear, banana, or berries with zucchini, cucumber, carrot, beetroot, or spinach. The combinations are virtually endless and rather delicious! You will also eat less during meals if you have smoothies in between. Win-win!
Casseroles are delicious, and everyone has their favorites. They are also among the easiest food in which to sneak in extra vegetables! Finely chopped assorted peppers, zucchini, spinach, or beans can all make their way in all kinds of casseroles without significantly changing the taste or texture of the meal. This means more nutrients, antioxidants, minerals, and goodness entering your body!
Jazz Up Your Salads
Make having a salad with every meal a habit and make sure you mix it up frequently so that you don’t get bored of the same flavors. Sprinkle nuts and seeds into your salads, use a vinegar dressing on one day and a light creamy one on another. Add chopped meat or fish. Add chopped or dried fruit to them. Toss in a little couscous, pasta, or rice. Get creative and grab whatever is at hand. A salad is a great way of enjoying different vegetables as you can enjoy the flavors and textures and colors all at once! Even if you think you hate salads, you just haven’t eaten the right one yet!
If you think you already consume enough vegetables in your day, keeping a food journal might surprise you. Most of us consume fewer than the recommended amount, and even if you do consume the recommended amount, there is no harm in increasing your intake of vegetables! Make sure you wash veggies well before preparing them and buy organic whenever you can!