Vegetables. We all know they’re good for us. Full of fiber to nourish our gut flora and encourage regular bowel movements, vitamins and minerals to keep your body running, and antioxidants to fight inflammation, veggies are a nutritional powerhouse. But, they’re often just not all that exciting or enticing. So, here are 5 ways to get more veggies into your diet, easily, and deliciously.
- Cauliflower Rice – whether it’s for a burrito bowel or as a side with salmon, cauliflower rice is a great way add in more fiber and veggies with ease. My favorite way to incorporate this option is to do 1/3 – 1/2 normal brown rice and then another 2/3 or 1/2 as cauliflower rice. This gives you the added veggie benefits, while still keeping the texture of your beloved rice.
- Pesto – it’s not just for basil. 😉 Any sort of leafy greens typically work well – spinach, kale, arugula, even radish and beet greens. Combine in a food processor or blender with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. I like to balance out the more bitter greens, like the radish and beets, with a bit of fresh lemon juice and some basil. Add pesto to homemade pizza dough, top some grilled salmon with a good glob, or dip some other veggies into it!
- Smoothies – I’ve touted the amazingness of smoothies before, but it bears repeating. Smoothies are such an easy way to get in soooo much nutrition! Whether for breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack, or a pre-bed treat, smoothies are a great way to hit your veggie quota for the day. Frozen butternut squash, spinach, frozen cauliflower, and even cooked carrots are all awesome additions. Try to do at least a 1:1 ratio of fruit to veggies in your smoothie; I can often get away with a 1:2!
- Dips – dips, themselves, and what you dip into them, can both be great ways to increase your veggie intake. Hummus, eggplant dip, black bean dip, and even salsa, as well as the pesto mentioned above are all great dip options. Pair them with some bell pepper strips, carrots, and celery and you’ve got several servings of veggies in one easy snack.
- Pizza – I’ve mentioned the ways pizza can be made more nutritious a few times, but much like smoothies, you can really never talk about pizza enough! Whether you add some spinach or pumpkin puree into the sauce, swap in pesto for the traditional red sauce, or just pile it high with assorted veggies, pizza can be a wonderful avenue to get more veggies into your diet, if you do it right. Bell peppers, garlic, spinach, mushrooms, and olives are all easy, delicious additions to your pizza topping list.
Give it a try! See how easy it can be to still love what you’re eating, AND get a great dose of veggies each meal and day. For more ideas and recipes to support your quest to eat more veggies, come on in to CoreLife!
Aubrey Phelps MS RDN LDN