Get Your Veggies!

Posted on 23 June 2015

It’s hardly breaking news that getting your vegetables is important.  From a young age, most of us are coached (or nagged!) to “Eat Your Veggies!”  As our appetites evolve, and we become more autonomous in our meal choices, many of us find our vegetable intake falling to the wayside in favor of quick carbs and proteins.  Still, vegetables remain a crucial source of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as body-regulating fiber, which not only helps with keeping your digestive system regular, but also helps keep your blood sugar and metabolism in check.  Eating your veggies is simply not optional!

What comes to mind when you think of getting your vegetables?  A giant plate of iced crudités?  A hot, buttery side dish?  Something to pick around in your pasta dish?  While those are a few choices, the place of vegetables within your daily meals is changing!  Perhaps the easiest way to add more vegetables to your life is to add them to everything.  Yes, Everything!  Eggs for breakfast?  Add spinach or peppers and onions.  Pizza?  Add broccoli.  Sandwich?  See how many veggies you can get on there.  Fresh or frozen, there’s hardly a place veggies can’t go in your meal.  Add them to soups and stews and pastas to bump up the nutrition in your meal with minimal effort.

Veggies can also very quickly become the star of your meal.  Steamed or grilled, not fried, is the best way to present beautiful, nutrient-dense vegetables to the table.  Consider vegetable kabobs, or steamed, spiced vegetables gracing your colorful summer plate.  Avoid high-fat sauces, too.  While drenching that corn on the cob with butter is a delightful go-to, try a little garlic, or hot pepper flakes to amp up the flavor without driving up the calories and fat.  Herbs and spices are fun to experiment with, and quickly elevate a simple steamed veggie to supreme star status.

You may also wish to reconsider complex carbohydrates.  While there are many great properties to carbs, substituting vegetable sources can be a fun and delicious way to increase the nutritional value of a meal.  Veggies such as cauliflower and zucchini are taking the place of bread, as pizza crusts and buns on which meats, cheeses, and even more veggies can be served.  Mushrooms and eggplant can take the place of buns on sandwiches, and lettuce is the new wrap-these are easily portable ways to veggie up your lunch!  And let’s not forget pasta options- from spaghetti squash to zucchini noodles, vegetables are great with pasta sauce and a lean protein.

Putting vegetables on your plate is all well and fine, but they aren’t going to benefit you unless you eat them.  In order to encourage your mind to eat more veggies, experts recommend putting your vegetables on your plate first, especially if you’re really hungry.  We tend to pile our plate with the first item we choose, then taper off on serving sizes as we add to the plate.  The more veggies on our plate, the more you have to eat!  You’ll also want to eat your veggies first.  This will keep you from over-doing it on those carbs, and you’ll find yourself feeling fuller, faster.

From salads to snacks and Sunday dinners, there’s a place for veggies everywhere!  We’d love to see your veggie suggestions- feel free to share some of the ways you get vegetables into your daily diet in the comments, or on our Facebook page!

Have fun, eat right, and stay active!

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