By: Karrie Billets, Functional Nutrition Health Coach
Got Vegetables? 9 out of 10 Americans are falling short…yikes! Do you feel you’re missing some veggies in your diet? Many of my patients struggle on a regular basis to get enough. Vegetables are chock-full of body-boosting phytonutrients that fend off free radicles, inflammation, and can help prevent a slew of diseases and chronic conditions in your body.
How many servings should you get in a day? Ideally you want to shoot for 6-7 servings of leafy greens and vegetables. I know you’re going to ask…what is a serving? Typically a serving consists of ½ cup of cooked or 1 cup of raw.
Here are 9 creative ways to Veg-out.
Smoothies: One of the easiest ways to add more veggies is to throw some in a smoothie. Greens usually don’t alter the taste after you add other ingredients, especially with a flavored protein powder. In addition, frozen zucchini, cauliflower, pumpkin, beets or carrots are other favorites to bump up your intake.
Soups: Toss a slew of veggies in a big pot of soup and you’ve got yourself a veggie free-for all! I have a 3-ingredient soup recipe that takes 15 minutes…Grab leftover veg from your fridge, bag of frozen veggies, a carton of chicken stock, and heck, add some leftover rotisserie chicken while you’re at it, and wallah! –Soups on the table in a jiffy.
Veggie noodles: Pull out that handheld spiralizer and twist away for some lovely “spaghetti-like” low-carb noodles. Try making zoodles with zucchini, carrots, beets, or sweet potatoes. Oops! We can’t forget spaghetti squash…an all time fav in my house.
Sauces: Sneak them into sauces of all kinds. They can be pureed and mixed with the sauce, leftover roasted veggies, or a bag of frozen_________. Roasted red peppers from a jar are uber-good! 5. Rice: Yep, we’re all familiar with riced cauliflower, but you can also rice sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, or winter squash. I love riced sweet potatoes in my breakfast porridge. 6. Pizza time: If you’re making a pizza, buying a frozen one, or grabbing a take-out, top it with extra veggies and pop it in the oven. My favorite add-ons are arugula, spinach, or artichoke hearts. 7. Chicken or tuna fish salad: Add chopped cucumber, celery, red peppers, cilantro, parsley, jicama, or grated carrots when making your mayo-based salads. Then spoon into a lettuce leaf-That’s a double-whammy of veg!
Veggie Frittata: This is a great option to veg-out with a veggie-packed make-ahead egg dish. Frittatas are the perfect way to jam in some extra green guys. Cut into wedges and reheat throughout the week. Some people call this a crustless quiche.
Fast Salads: My mom used to call her salads ”everything but the kitchen sink”. I grew up on a farm with a mega garden, so there was never a shortage of veg. You can grab a tub of greens, chopped veggies, leftover roasted veggies, canned artichokes, water chestnuts, and or pre-chopped vegetables from the produce department for a quick “kitchen sink” salad. My favorite fast salad is a bag of broccoli slaw, craisins, slivered almonds, and some dressing. Bam lunch is served!
There are a myriad of ways to add more of these vital buggers. One of the best and most obvious ways is to always keep fresh cut-up veggies in glass containers up front and center in the fridge. You don’t want to have to move an unhealthy food to get to the healthy one…that piece of cheesecake will always win. Now go Veg-out!