You know just as well as I do that vegetables are a pretty big deal, but if you’re also like me, then you have trouble figuring out how to incorporate more veggies into your diet without only opting for salads from now on. I’ve figured out through experience that veggies can not only taste good, but also make you feel amazing. So here are a couple of the ways that I’ve learned to make veggies a bigger part of my diet.
Smoothies are one of the best ways to squeeze in bonus nutrients with the least amount of effort. The problem is that most of the time when we think of making a smoothie, we’re thinking – fruit, fruit, fruit. That’s the fastest way to go overboard with how many calories you add into your smoothies. A great way to switch it up is to swap out a portion of the fruits with a variety of different vegetables. My favorite veggies to go with is usually one of those triple-washed boxes of salad mix that you can find in any grocery store. It’s easy to use, and you can leave it in the freezer to make sure that they don’t wilt.
My reason for going with the salad mix is that it’s usually pretty neutral compared to loading your smoothie up with kale or arugula – which I both love, but can definitely kill your morning buzz if you add too much. A good starting point would be to have around 30-40% veggies and fill up the rest with fruit. As you start becoming more accustomed to your smoothie, start trying to bump that veggie content to 60-70%. I know a couple people who just load their smoothies up with 80-90% of veggies, and I’m not quite sure how they drink that.
Here’s my current go to blend:
- Salad mix
I keep all of the ingredients, except the bananas, in the freezer, so it’s super easy to prepare and have available every morning.
I grew up eating a ton of white rice. Trying to figure out a way to eat more vegetables along with an existing carbohydrate source, usually just led to eating more carbs. So instead, I decided to try swapping out half of my rice with a vegetable such as arugula. Believe it or not, it was actually not that hard to deal with. It did somewhat turn my meal into something similar to a salad, but it didn’t take anything away from it. I think that regardless of what cuisine that you primary consume, most vegetables don’t have a strong enough flavor profile to really mask or overpower your main course. This method works especially well when you have a liquid base such as soup or sauce, because the vegetables just start to blend right into the base.
This was my go to college meal that really did a good job of applying this suggestion:
- Sauce (Marinara, Alfredo, sometimes even curry)
- Frozen Broccoli
- Frozen Carrots, Peas, Corn
The nice thing about this meal was that I just cranked the heat up and was usually able to get it done, from start to finish, in under 15 minutes. With something like this, it’s super easy to for you to just lightened up a little on the pasta and fill in the gaps with frozen veggies.
Order a salad
I had to talk about this one eventually, but I support it so much. I’m one who really feels the negative effects of a bad diet whenever I fall off the wagon. I can’t say how many times I’ve gone out to eat and just felt terrible afterwards. Unfortunately, most of the options that are offered to us when we dine out are just not great for our health and well being. Although I totally support satisfying those cravings when they arise, we all know that we could probably make a few better decisions about what we’re ordering when we visit a restaurant. By just occasionally opting out for a salad, I’ve experienced a lot less of the stuffy, groggy, and sleepy after effects of my past dining experiences.
So those are the three ways that I really recommend that you use to try and get more veggies into your diet! Honestly, there hasn’t been any other change that I’ve made that’s had as powerful of an effect on my energy levels as this did. I sometimes even save my smoothie until later in the day when I feel like I need a quick boost to help me get right back on track.