There’s a reason Mom always told you to eat your vegetables — they’re packed with powerhouse nutrients! For any diet or weight management plan, vegetables are a lower calorie option fortified with vitamins, minerals and many more added health benefits.
But don’t be fooled — veggies probably don’t give you the same warm, comforting feeling as a cheesy plate of pasta or a protein-rich meat seasoned to perfection. Many people find it difficult to eat the recommended 2-3 cups per day, so if you’re one to stick your nose up at a bowl of roasted Brussels sprouts just because it’s a veggie, these creative eating tips are for you!
Eat More Veggies: Tips & Tricks
Take a New Spin on Pasta
Replacing pasta noodles with veggie alternatives is a surefire way to cut back on carbs and calories. Many veggies can be run through a spiralizer, such as zucchini, carrots and sweet potatoes. Those that can be cut thick, like zucchini, can also make great lasagna noodles.
Go Bun-less with Wraps and Burgers
Rather than a tortilla wrap or traditional starchy bun, try large leafy greens such as Romaine lettuce. A thick piece can hold your “sandwich” fillings and condiments just as easily! Other “bun” alternatives are portabella mushroom caps, sliced eggplant or sliced sweet potatoes.
Build and Grill Kabobs
For an astonishingly light and easy meal, place various veggies and cuts of seasoned lean meat (like chicken) on a skewer to throw on the grill. Bell peppers, onions, squash and tomatoes work well. For some extra zest, make your own low-fat creamy dipping sauce!
Stuff Your Veggies
Larger veggies, like bell peppers, sweet potatoes or spaghetti squash, make great dishes all on their own. Roast them or grill them to perfection, then stuff them full with lean meats, cauliflower rice, beans and legumes, low-fat cheese, more veggies — you name it!
Add to Soups and Sauces
Veggies are great for adding texture to runnier foods like soups and sauces. Popular additions include onions, broccoli, spinach, carrots and mushrooms. Don’t forget to season them!
Harness the Powers of Cauliflower
As you’re probably aware, cauliflower has rich, creamy properties that make it great for substituting traditional carb-based foods such as pizza crust, fried rice or mashed potatoes.
Be a Sneaky Chef
So you’re not one for large cuts of veggies in your favorite dishes? Hide them by shredding or chopping them into small pieces. Great places to do this are in omelettes, meatloaf and burgers.
Embrace Bold Flavors and Textures
Above all, experiment with your veggies and don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen. Herbs, spices and new cutting techniques will be your best fried if you’re trying to embrace more produce in your diet, so keep your mind open! Finally, try to explore the freshest options that sell in places such as farmers markets. Not only will you save money, but you’ll reap big flavor benefits.