Are you eating enough vegetables? Honestly, you don’t need as much as you might think. Women need to eat just 2.5 cups and men 3.5 cups of vegetables each day. However, if you analyze your current intake, you might be surprised just how little vegetables you actually consume.
What it boils down to is vegetables aren’t the sexiest of foods. Even so, they are jam-packed with nutrients and come with a ton of health benefits. A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower the risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect on blood sugar, which can help keep appetite in check.
We recommend adding veggies to all your meals - it’s not as hard as you might think. There are a lot of ways to incorporate vegetables into your meals that you might already be doing! Get creative, open your mind and be willing to experiment!
Here are 4 easy ways I “sneak” vegetables into meals.
This is one you probably already eat but didn’t really consider a vegetable. Well, the ingredients are all vegetables! Add them to your eggs in the morning, use it as dressing on your salad for lunch and add them to your tacos for dinner. Boom, you just ate veggies at every meal! It’s that simple. Salsa virtually has no calories sitting at about 10 caloriesl per 2 tablespoon serving. It also contains potassium, flavanoids and lycopene (helps break down free radicals, reduce cell damage, and slow premature aging of the body), vitamins A,C, and E.
- Marinara or Spaghetti Sauce
The ingredients in our favorite marinara sauce (Raos) are Italian whole peeled tomatoes, olive oil, onions, salt, garlic, basil, black pepper, and oregano. I usually have to pour the jar into a blender because Lee doesn’t like onions. While slightly annoying, it's a great opportunity to add some extra veggies and no one would notice! You can blend in everything from zucchini and butternut squash, to kale, beets, and cauliflower (really any puréed veggies will do). Marinara sauce is also low in calories and a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, and potassium.
These super versatile vegetables are easy to add to chili, burgers, stir-frys, meatballs and meatloaf. You can chop them up really small to create almost a crumble that will add volume to your meal without the calories. They take the flavor of anything they are in while adding a hearty flavor. Bonus, they add vitamin D!
When someone says add leafy greens to your diet…it’s usually followed with a gag. Nevertheless, this sweeter green with a smooth texture makes a wonderful addition to many meals. Spinach contains health benefits from skin-enhancing vitamin C to energy-boosting iron. You can blend into smoothies, add to soups, top your pizzas, add to sandwiches, stir into omelets, fold into your baked goods, and the list goes on.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ways to eat more vegetables! There really are SO many different ways. Let us know what you try and how you are experimenting!