Creative and Yummy Ways to Eat More Vegetables!
by Cheryl S. Grant
Of course, we all know that vegetables are an important part of a well-balanced diet. In fact, the USDA recommends filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables during every meal and snack. Still, trying to eat more vegetables can sometimes feel like a chore! But with a little planning and a dash of creativity, you'll find that there are plenty of fun ways to add vegetables to your plate! Hack your meals with these simple tricks to get your daily servings of veggies.
A great way to eat more vegetables is to start your day with that goal in mind. If you're an egg lover, consider adding diced tomatoes and spinach into an omelet or scrambled eggs. To save time, chop your veggies at night, store them in an airtight container, and use them in the morning. If you're looking to mix things up on the weekends but still want to get your daily dose of veggies, try some egg muffins. Simply preheat the oven to 350 degrees and whisk several eggs in a bowl with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, then add two or three of your favorite diced vegetables to a nonstick muffin tin. Some great options include sweet peppers, onions, spinach, kale, broccoli, and tomatoes. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies so that each muffin slot is nearly full with a quarter of an inch left at the top. Bake for 20 minutes. When the muffins are done, store them in the fridge or freezer and grab one each morning to reheat in the microwave.
Not only can packing vegetables as snacks save you money, but they are easy to transport and perfectly refreshing when you're in need of a mid-morning or afternoon snack. Chopped broccoli, carrots, and celery are light and easy to carry in a storage bag. You can also dip them in your favorite nut butter for a smart and tasty treat.
According to the New York Times, about 62 percent of working Americans eat lunch at their desks. This trend can contribute to poor food choices, as it can be tempting to grab whatever is available and head back to your computer if you don't have much time to eat. To overcome this, consider preparing extra food with your dinner that you can eat for lunch the next day. Since you have time to prepare a well-balanced meal for dinner that's packed with a variety of vegetables, eating leftovers from the night before is a great way to make sure you get your fair share of vegetables throughout the day. Steamed vegetables are a great option to include in your dinner because they are easy to reheat. A little forethought can make a world of difference when it comes to planning a healthy and timesaving midday meal!
End the Day Right
Dinnertime can either be the best way to top off your day of healthy eating or a time when you make some poor dietary decisions due to exhaustion and a lack of planning. To avoid the latter, aim to plan and shop for your meals on the weekend when you're less pressed for time. You can even prepare some of the food on Sunday. A batch of grilled chicken, for example, can serve you throughout the week when paired with vegetable options. Broil the chicken in the oven with some salt, pepper, and olive oil. Slice the precooked chicken up after work and reheat it in a pan with vegetables like diced carrots, string beans, zucchini, and onions. You could also toss it with cooked pasta, chopped tomatoes, spinach, garlic, and a tablespoon of olive oil. Try a sandwich with chicken, avocado slices, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and red onions, or add the chicken to a salad mix.
When you take the time in advance to prepare meals that incorporate vegetables in various ways, healthy dietary choices can become less of a chore and more of a creative way to spice up your meals!