Vegetables are one of those foods people either love or hate. The problem with hating vegetables is that they are arguably the most health-promoting food group on the planet. If you aren’t eating vegetables, you aren’t getting all their amazing components like fiber, antioxidants, and other powerful phytochemicals.
So what’s a veggie-hater to do? If you think you hate vegetables you should definitely learn to embrace this colorful food group.
For those of you who aren’t sure what counts as a serving of vegetables, here is a list of examples:
- 1 cup of lettuce or raw spinach (about the size of a baseball)
- 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables
- 6 baby carrots or radishes
- 1 large stalk of celery
- 1 small can tomato or vegetable juice (not recommended)
- 1/2 green pepper
- 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce or salsa
Personally I LOVE vegetables and easily eat at least 5 servings a day. Here’s how I do it:
- Start early by having veggies at breakfast. Load up your omelette with veggies like mushrooms, peppers, onions and spinach. Or, if you’re in a rush, throw in a heaping handful of spinach into a pan, cook for a minute then pour in your egg whites, flip and voila you’ve already consumed 1-2 servings of veggies.
- Have more than that piece of lettuce on your sandwich at lunch. Try chopped raw veggies on the side or make a salad. If you’re out for lunch ask for a side salad or steamed veggies instead of having fries or a baked potato.
- Use vegetables as snacks. They are crunchy and satisfying, convenient and portable and don’t require much preparation. They are tasty on their own or dipped in hummus or other healthy homemade dips. One of my favourite snacks is celery sticks with all natural peanut butter.
- Try having extra veggies at dinner. Most of us have been trained to think of dinner as having three components: 1 starch (rice, pasta, potato), 1 vegetable and 1 serving of protein. Here’s a suggestion: skip the starch and add another vegetable! There are many different types of squash that are just as satisfying as pasta or rice, have you tried spaghetti squash??
- Make a soup or a blend some veggies to make a healthy drink. Check out this simple refreshing cucumber drink from my friend Natalie Waples’ blog: :1 whole cucumber (skin and all), 1 cup water, 1 cup ice cubes, 1-2 tsp splenda. Blend until smooth and serve.
I can’t emphasis this enough: The key to eating healthy and getting enough vegetables in your diet is to plan all your meals in advance! If you haven’t started doing this yet, try it, it works!!