Everyone knows we should be eating more vegetables but even the most ardent fans of all things green and colorful sometimes fall short of how much we should be eating. Following are my top five tips for adding more green (and purple, and red, and orange) goodness to your daily dishes.
- Add veggies to everything. Tonight, for example, I made polenta and sausages with a beautiful red sauce of tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, a pound of frozen spinach, a head of chard from my garden, and a whole bag of Power Greens from Trader Joe’s. I added a pinch of parmesan cheese and some Italian herbs and spices, and everyone had at least 4 servings of ridiculously delicious veggies at this one meal.
- Swap a base of veggies for pastas and rice. You can get creative and make zucchini noodles with a mandolin slicer, or bake a spaghetti squash and use that. Or go really easy and serve a marinara sauce on a base of wilted spinach leaves or a spicy and rich Indian curry on top of seasoned, mashed-up cauliflower.
- Sub veggies for your regularly-scheduled grains. If you love hummus and pita chips, try hummus and carrot sticks. Sub leafy greens for tortillas and taco shells to make spicy chicken wraps in kale or grass-fed beef tacos on romaine lettuce. Or keep it simple and fill celery stalks with delicious soft cheese.
- Speaking of soft cheeses, don’t fear fat! A great Swedish study showed that many of the micronutrients in vegetables can only be absorbed when you eat them with some saturated fat. That bit can be a little bit or a lotta bit, but do be sure to eat some butter on your broccoli, some cheese with your cauliflower, or some avocado with your salsa. The bonus? Veggies taste delicious with fat, and if things taste delicious you are much more likely to eat them.
- Finally, while I don’t think it’s necessary to hide veggies in baked goods a la the Sneaky Chef, things like burgers with ground zucchini and onions, or coconut flour muffins with pumpkin can be incredibly tasty. In recipes like these the veggies aren’t hidden, they are a flavor-enhancing bonus. And if they make it easier to reach your daily goal of ten servings a day, why not add them to your repertoire?
Tune in next week for my tasty coconut flour and pumpkin muffin recipe. Until then, stay happy and eat your veggies. And make them delicious!
Kirsten Quint Fairbanks is health coach and holistic lifestyle expert who lives happily, works gratefully, home-schools secularly, dances inexpertly, cooks traditionally, and nurses on demand in the San Francisco Bay Area. She offers real-world healthy lifestyle coaching for busy women who want vibrant health, beautiful babies, thriving families, and more fun in their lives. She also offers holistic skincare consultation for anyone who is tired of the beauty hype and is ready to have healthy, glowing skin. She works online and in-person. Read more about her here.