When was the last time you ate a vegetable? No, french fries don’t count.
You want your daily diet jam-packed with nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. Like little goodie grenades for your cells, vegetables are vital. Here are some easy ways to incorporate vegetables, every which way, every day.
1. The Secret is in the Sauce – Start with some basics. Try making your own tomato sauce at home. Start with some canned diced tomatoes, and add everything but the kitchen sink. Fresh herbs and spices, such as basil, oregano and cilantro, onions, peppers, finely chopped kale and broccoli, fresh ground pepper, maybe even some sprouts. The smaller you chop and the longer you let it simmer, the more the flavors will meld together and the more delicious it will be. Best served on spaghetti squash or used as a base for a spicy chili. As an alternative, the secret can be in the soup, too! Simply toss all your remaining veggies in a pot with water. Make sure to include celery, onions, a few bits of potato, and as many fresh spices as you can find.
2. Veggie Scramble – Add veggies to your fresh farm eggs in the morning. Heat a little olive oil, and add chopped garlic and onion for a base. Add peppers, spinach and broccoli. Saute everything together for 5 minutes and then add two eggs. Scramble and add some fresh ground pepper. Throw it all on a plate, and top with a creamy avocado. This act of addition works with other dishes as well by adding vegetables to any dish possible.
3. The Green Monster Smoothie – Not much time in the morning for the full gourmet experience? If you’ve got two minutes, you’ve got enough time to mix together more essential nutrients than most people get all day. Grab a blender, add a half a cup of coconut water, half a cup of almond water, two scoops of coconut oil, an avocado, a big handful of kale, a banana and some blueberries. Blend and serve. It tastes much more delicious than it sounds, and best of all, you’re on your way to a healthy day.
4. Make It Easy – In order to avoid grabbing whatever is around when you’re craving a crunchy snack, make sure you’ve planned ahead. Always have some cut up veggies around. Taking the work out in advance makes it more likely you’ll grab the healthy choice. And don’t keep them in containers that aren’t clear. If your veggies are easily visible, you’re much more likely to nibble on the nutritious choice.
5. Get Creative – You don’t have to serve up the same old vegetable dishes over and over again. Create inspired dishes and increase your home’s nutrition count by using your noodle. Keep your bowl of salad new and interesting with a running list of creative ingredients. Keep your palate guessing by tossing in pomegranate seeds, citrus slices, or a zingy kumquat or two. Always keep something new to try in mind when shopping. Not sure what to do with that cabbage? Grate it with carrots, add some fresh cut pineapple, raisins and homemade mayo for a tangy coleslaw. Or use it as a grass-fed burger topping. Not too keen on raw kale? Try baking it on a cookie sheet with a little olive oil and garlic, and it will substitute nicely for those disease-promoting potato chips. Constantly trying new out foods will ensure a wide variety of life-giving nutrients are making their way into your body.
6. Up Your Access – Join a CSA. If you’ve got vegetables on hand every week on schedule, you’ll have an endless supply. Pay up front for the season and you won’t have to worry about running to the store to keep yourself in stock or about the weekly cost. It’s a great way to support small businesses in your community, as well as ensuring that you’re getting vine-ripened crops. Not to mention saving those store-bought veggies the trip across the country.
7. Do It Yourself – There’s nothing like biting into a delicious tomato you grew yourself. It’s cheap and surprisingly easy to grow yourself some treats in the backyard. With a little water and sunlight, you can grow yourself a salad. Don’t have a yard? Urban gardening is on the rise and it’s surprisingly easy. All you need is a pot and a window. At the very least, start an herb garden on the kitchen windowsill. Having tasty spices on hand to enrich flavor will lessen the urge to coat your dishes in salt or butter. But the best part is creating something for yourself, and getting a little dirty while you’re at it.
8. Dare to Dine Responsibly – It can be hard not to indulge in disease-promoting dishes on date night or when out with friends. Instead of ordering a greasy appetizer (or going for the basket of bread), try ordering a side dish of the vegetable of the day to wet your appetite when you dine out.
Use these tactics to your advantage and pile on the vital veggies. Your body will thank you.