4 Ways to Eat More Vegetables
We all know vegetables are good for us, but not even Popeye can convince most Americans to eat the recommended 2-3 cups per day. According to the USDA, most Americans eat 1.5 cups of veggies per day, but 60% of that amount is comprised of potatoes and tomatoes. Don’t get me wrong, potatoes are a filling and a fantastic source of potassium, but we tend to eat them fried and salted (and from fast food joints.) Raw tomatoes are an excellent source of Vitamins A and C. Tomato sauce on pizza and pasta, however, tends to have a lot of added sugar.
This year I set a goal for myself to eat 2 cups per day of mostly green vegetables. If you’re like me (and most eight-year-olds) you don’t wanna eat them! So here are 4 strategies to get the greens down.
#1 – Drink your vegetables.
Sounds weird, huh? But this one is pretty easy. Mix two cups of baby spinach with two cups of ice water in a blender. After everything is smooth, add one scoop of your favorite protein powder. Here’s why I like this trick: 1) You’re done with your veggie requirement first thing in the morning! Any vegetables after that is a bonus. 2) Spinach blends well and doesn’t have a bitter aftertaste like some other veggies do. Also, according to one small study, spinach helps reduce sugar cravings. Let’s hear it for green smoothies!
#2 – Switch the texture.
My mom, for whatever reason, liked slimy vegetables. She liked canned green beans that looked like something a duck would leave behind and boiled spinach slimy as seaweed. Yuck! Now that I’m an adult, I’ve discovered I like crunchy vegetables way better. Raw celery, carrots and cucumber slices make a healthier alternative for potato chips. Steamed green beans and asparagus can be al dente, so they are still firm when bitten. You can also try baking and grilling, or if you are like my mom, boil. Do what makes your taste buds happy.
#3 – Eat your favorites.
Your meal should not taste like punishment. If you hate radishes, don’t eat them! Stick to salads if that’s your jam. If you are calorie-conscious, avoid high calorie salad dressing. There are so many options now you don’t have to. Sometimes just squeezing a little lemon juice does the trick. Here’s a recipe for zero-calorie dressing that tastes like honey mustard.
#4 – Add veggies to foods you already eat.
Making an omelet for breakfast? Add some bell peppers and onion. Try cauliflower for your homemade pizza crust. Zucchini, squash and sweet potatoes can put put through a spiralizer, cut up or shredded to make noodles. They are a great low-carb replacement for pasta and a novel way to eat more vegetables.
Hope that helps! Do you have any ideas you’ve used personally or with your kids? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
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