In today’s fast-paced world, it’s often hard to get all the vegetables we need to stay healthy. According to the US Department of Agriculture, which publishes recommendations for vegetable quantities, adults should eat approximately 2-3 cups of vegetables each day. However, only about 10 percent of Americans eat enough fruits and veggies, according to the CDC.
Why is this important and why are we falling so far behind?
For one thing, eating a plant-based diet (i.e. no meat and no animal byproducts like milk and eggs) can help significantly reduce risks of heart disease and cancer, as well as aiding in weight loss and reduced stress levels. Additionally, vegetarian diets (which often allow for animal byproducts) are extremely rich in essential nutrients and vitamins, and offers a wide variety of health benefits such as lower risk of diabetes, better kidney function, and overall better gut health.
And with National Fresh Veggies Day coming up on June 16th, it’s a great time to think about ways you can get more vegetables in your belly on an everyday basis. Here are a few tips to get you started.
One of the cool things about veggies is that they don’t have to be cooked and eaten. They can also be turned into juice! Pretty much all veggies can be juiced, from carrots, beets, spinach, kale, cucumber, and many more. Juiced veggies are extremely easy to take with you if you’re constantly on the go, ensuring that you always get a full serving chock full of fiber and other nutrients.
Go Meatless One Day A Week
If you’re a carnivore who wants to get more vegetables, it might be worthwhile to consider having a single meal meatless (check out the #meatlessmonday hashtag for some inspiration). Having just one meal where you eat vegetarian or vegan can increase your day’s consumption of vegetables 2-3 times. You could even do it for the entire day, giving you an even greater boost. But keep in mind that going meatless on one day doesn’t mean you should forgo vegetables throughout the rest of the week.
And going meatless doesn’t mean going flavorless. Incorporating fresh herbs and spices into any dish will help to make that dish exciting and flavorful. Don’t shy away from amping up the flavor of your vegetables, no matter how you cook them.
Hide Your Veggies
We get it: Some of us are picky eaters and we don’t like vegetables. Maybe they were forced on us a child. Maybe our parents just didn’t know how to cook them. Whatever the reason is, it’s sometimes easier to hide your veggies in your meals. A couple ideas include:
- Add grated carrots and/or zucchini to meatloaf
- Add layers of vegetables to lasagna
- Add saut’ed vegetables to pasta or rice
- Add veggies to scrambled eggs or an omelet
These are just a few ideas to get you started. If you’d like more tips and tricks to eat more vegetables, schedule an appointment with one of our nutritionists. We can work with you to develop a personalized eating plan that’s both healthy and delicious!