You’ve been hearing “eat your vegetables” since you could climb in to a highchair on your own. But still, you’re old enough to prepare meals on your own and you still manage to skirt around the issue. We urge you to not only eat your veggies, but embrace your veggies.
They aren’t rabbit food, or hippie food – they’re real food. Vegetables are the most nutrient-dense whole foods you can put in your body. What does that mean to you? Better sleep, more energy, fewer hunger pangs, more satisfaction after meals, better-fitting pants and much, much more. Want to get dramatic? A diet rich in vegetables, meeting the recommended daily amounts, can see changes in health from diabetes and cholesterol to memory, eye sight, and blood pressure.
Go ahead, give these plants a bite and your health a run for its money!
1. Smoothies. Don’t avoid iron-rich leafy greens like spinach or kale at breakfast. Drop a whole handful into a smoothie (we swear you’ll never taste it) or in to an omelet or egg scramble (again, you’ll never taste it). Your body will certainly appreciate that it’s there.
2. Frittata. This fancy-sounding recipe is really just an egg-based dish like a quiche without the crust. It’s the perfect place to hide a ton of vegetables, like mushrooms and bell peppers. Try this Vegetable Frittata recipe this weekend.
3. Paninis. These are an incredible place to get a high dose of veggies without really noticing. On top of turkey stack spinach leaves, tomato slices, mushrooms, peppers, and onions and press until hot and crispy.
4. Salads. These are the picture of vegetable bliss but all too often wind up with more fried chicken, bacon and eggs than plants. Try more nutritious greens like kale, spinach, and spring greens over iceberg or Romaine, then bury them in carrots, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, peppers and cucumbers.
5. Baked Sweet Potatoes. This is the perfect brown-bag lunch. Bake a sweet potato in your break room microwave in about six minutes, then top with leftover chili from home. A vegetarian options would be to top with sautéed onions and peppers with black beans and a little guacamole. You might also try this Jamaican Sweet Potato Salad to go along with your ham and cheese sandwich.
6. Tacos. This is one of America’s favorite imported cuisines is the taco, and between those shells you can pack a lot of veggies. Try toasted corn, sautéed onions and peppers or even shredded cabbage in these BBQ Chicken Tacos. The Avocado Coleslaw topping has red and green cabbage for a crunchy, healthy topping.
7. Banh Mi Sliders. We loaded up our version of these Vietnamese sandwiches with carrots and cucumbers after slow-roasting a pork tenderloin. Our recipe for Banh Mi Sliders even includes other fresh ingredients like cilantro, ginger and apples.
8. Pasta. Those noodles are a great place to pack more vegetables. Try peas, Roma tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, onions or squash. You could even puree butternut squash in a macaroni and cheese sauce (no kidding, try it!).
9. Chips and Dip. Scratch that – veggie sticks and dip. Skip the pita and tortilla chips and scoop your hummus, guacamole and even cheese dip with carrots, celery, bell peppers and English cucumbers. We promise you’ll fill up faster than you would with a sack of potato chips.
10. Kale Chips. Go a step further in removing yourself from the bag of chips and make your own fresh vegetable chips. Kale leaves, thinly sliced sweet potatoes or even thin slices of beets misted with olive oil spray and sprinkled with Kosher salt are baked until crisp for a totally guilt-free, munchable snack. Try this version of kale chips with sesame seeds.