I think I have yet to meet a person who says they eat too many veggies. We all know that veggies are good for us, but why is it so hard to get them into our bodies?
It’s partly due to taste and/or texture, though I suspect this isn’t the real reason that most people aren’t consuming more veggies. From what I’ve seen, people will eat more veggies if they are more easily accessible to include in meals or as snacks.
I have two suggestions to help with that.
1) Make a list of snacking veggies and meal veggies.
2) Spend 20 minutes right after getting home from the grocery store to prep some veggies for the week.
For example, for snacks, I love carrots, jicama, sugar snap peas and mini bell peppers because they are easy to grab and munch on raw. To supplement my dinner meals, I buy an onion or two, broccoli and/or cauliflower and some large bell peppers. I add these to my cooked meals.
Because I prefer bagged bulk carrots to the less flavorful baby carrots, I’ll typically spend five minutes peeling them (saving the skins and tips for my neighbor’s two donkeys) and cutting them into 4” matchsticks that my whole family can easily bite into.
Jicama just needs to be skinned and cut into slices (if you don’t know what jicama is, it’s a large light brown root vegetable that is slightly sweet, very crisp, nutrient-packed, and great for snacking). Mini bell peppers just need to be washed.
Voilà! Veggies snacks at the ready in under 10 minutes.
For my veggies that need to be cooked, I recommend prepping them by dicing one whole onion, trimming any broccoli and/or cauliflower (or your other veggies of choice), and julienne slice some large bell peppers. By doing this quick prep work, you will be more likely to get those veggies in the pan, when making dinner seems like an exhausting chore.
If you find you’re short on time (or energy) and prepping your veggies still sounds like too much work, stock up on frozen veggies. Frozen varieties have no additives or preservatives and are just as good as fresh, since they are flash frozen right after being harvested.
I have three favorite frozen varieties: riced cauliflower (finely cut to resemble rice), broccoli you can steam in the bag, and cut white corn. Both the cauliflower and broccoli are prewashed and take about five minutes in the microwave. The corn is nice to have on hand when fresh corn on the cob is not available. Plus, it’s so versatile! You can easily thaw it to add to salads, mix into soup or cook for a few minutes as a side starch.
Precut and prepped veggies at the grocery store can be a great time saver. These are usually prepared in-house and are wrapped in deli packaging. These veggies come at a premium, but are worth it if it helps you ease into the world of veggies. Additionally, veggie trays don’t have to just be for Superbowl and holidays!
All that said, if there are certain veggies you don’t like but everyone says are so good for you (I’m looking at you, kale!) just ignore them and eat what you like. If you’re already having a hard time getting in your veggies, eating veggies you don’t like will only make it harder to develop good veggie habits.
Do yourself a favor today and make one veggie change to provide your body with some good premium fuel. A serving is usually about a ½ cup (more for lettuce). If you are currently not eating any veggies, shoot for one serving until that feels easy and up it from there. Remember that not all veggies need to be cooked and snacking on raw veggies counts just the same as eating cooked ones.
If you currently are only having one serving per day, try and up it to two. If you’re having two, shoot for three. If you’re having more than four, pat yourself on the back and keep up the great work!
NOTE: Technically speaking, peppers are fruits, as are avocados, cucumbers, squash and tomatoes. However, if those are the only “veggies” you eat, it’s better to eat those than nothing at all!