Most people would agree that they should eat more vegetables. But how? Comfort food tastes so much better! Here are 20 ways to sneak veggies into your diet!
“Eww, brussels sprouts!”
What parents hasn’t heard this phrase – or found uneaten peas hidden under then dining room table – at least once in their lifetime?
Sneaking vegetables into your family’s diet can be tricky at times. But it can be – and should be! – fun and creative. Here are 20 ways to help everyone in your house meet their recommended daily vegetable quota.
1. Turn To Old Fashioned Meal Planning: Meat, Grain, Vegetable
Are these three food groups on your plate at lunch and dinner? If the answer is no, throw some frozen veggies in a pan and saute them with some butter and almonds or walnuts. Season them with salt and pepper and everything will have a delicious flavor.
2. Turn Your Main Entree Into A Salad
You don’t have to forgo the medium-rare steak or the crispy fried chicken for a pile of vegetables. But instead of serving the meat as the main dish, serve it on top of a huge bed of lettuce instead. Add some cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots to add some color and flavor to the salad.
3. Pile Them On
If you like to bring deli sandwiches to work for lunch, don’t be shy when adding your veggies! Think about the thick sandwiches you get at the deli counter and try to replicate them.
Don’t limit yourself to one piece of lettuce! Add vegetables that will give juice to the sandwich (such as banana peppers and pickles). This will give the sandwich more flavor (and allow you to cut back on condiments like mayonnaise).
4. Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark
Buy darker greens – such as romaine lettuce and spinach – as opposed to lighter greens – like iceberg lettuce. Darker greens have more nutrients in them. If your family doesn’t typically like darker greens, try to ease them in by using a mixture of the two.
5. Buy It Pre-Mixed
Lunches are hard – they are usually at work, in class or on the go. Consider buying a bag of pre-mixed salad every week and keeping it at work with some of your favorite salad dressings. Then you don’t need to think about vegetables while you are trying to get out of the door in the morning.
6. Brr – Buy ‘Em Frozen!
Frozen vegetables don’t actually lose as many nutrients as people tend to think if they are frozen immediately. The advantage to buying frozen vegetables is that you do not have to buy in-season and will therefore have more options.
7. Hide Them In Pasta Salads
Add finely chopped vegetables to pasta salads that may not normally have them. Vegetables will actually bulk up dishes like tuna salad, chicken salad and even macaroni & cheese.
8. Veggie Pizza – That’s Amore!
Don’t deprive yourself and get rid of Friday Night Pizza. Just add vegetables to your pizza!
9. Be Sauce-y
Stir fry is great way to get lots of veggies on your plate without compromising any flavor. Experiment with different sauces and marinades and use a variety of vegetables. Switch up the grains you serve the stir fry on to – give your palette some different textures.
10. Be Sneaky
Veggies at breakfast? Why not! Instead of cereal and milk, make omelets with mushrooms, broccoli and onions. You’ll sneak in more vegetables and start the day off with a hearty meal!
11. Make Soups And Stews At Home
Soups are easy to make and adapt to your dietary needs. Create hearty meals with lots of flavor! Add a small amount of a new vegetable that your family has never tried to the soup and see if they notice.
12. Be Smooth
Add greens to your smoothie! Affectionately known as “Green Monsters” on food blogs, smoothies made with spinach are an easy way to give your family greens without taking anything away. Simply throw a handful of spinach into a fruit smoothie and blend it like you normally would.
13. Drink Juice
Vegetable juice is a great way to get veggies on the go. If it is in your budget, consider getting a high-powered juicer and create your own delicious concoctions.
14. Do The Prep Work On The Front End
If your fresh veggies need to be washed or cut, do it as soon as you get home from the grocery store. The easier it is for you to grab vegetables quickly when you are hungry, the more likely you are to snack on them as opposed to snacking on something like chips or cookies.
15. Take A Dip
If raw veggies aren’t your favorite thing in the world, keep some of your favorite dips on hand to serve them with.
16. Don’t Be Afraid To Go Solo
Veggie sandwiches and wraps are delicious without meat! If you want to bulk them up, spread some hummus on the bread and top everything with cheese.
17. Add Vegetables To Your Favorite Italian Dishes
Add peppers and onions to your spaghetti sauce, mushrooms and broccoli to your lasagna and spinach and shredded carrots to your stuffed shells. You don’t have to eliminate the meat you would normally serve in these dishes – the addition of vegetables will enhance them!
18. Vegetables > Pasta
Consider using vegetables like spaghetti squash instead of pasta in your Italian dishes. If you’re afraid this might be too drastic for your family, create a vegetable pasta / pasta mixture the first couple of times.
19. Eat Salsa
Salsa is full of vegetables and often gets overlooked as something that is just for chips. It’s not! Serve it on top of eggs, grilled chicken and fish.
20. Don’t Like Them Raw? Don’t Eat Them!
You don’t have to eat vegetables raw if you don’t want to! Yes, you lose some of the nutrients when you cook them, but you can also add a lot of flavor. Cooked vegetables are better than no vegetables so find a cook them that your family will enjoy and go from there.