Monday, March 26, 2012

Sneaky veggies

Vegetables are so good for you.  No matter what diet you follow, it seems they all recommend increasing your intake of fresh veggies.  They are full of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and filling fiber.  From a medical standpoint, there is growing evidence that these nutritional powerhouses can help prevent chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, certain cancers, and even Alzheimer's.  Many of us may be scarred from our childhood days when we were forced to eat our veggies, and this has shed a negative light on the food group.  In the last couple of years, I have come to find that, when prepared correctly, they can actually taste good.  Not to mention, they make you feel fantastic.  I have constructed this list to help us all rid veggies of their negative image and start reaping the health benefits.

Ten Ways to Eat More Veggies:

  1. Mince spinach and kale, and always have this on hand.  You can blend it into smoothies, use it in breakfast casseroles, mix into meatballs or burgers. The possibilities are endless.
  2. Use veggies as vehicles for dips. No, they do not taste as good as tortilla chips, but I can guarantee you will feel better after eating salsa, guac, (insert any other dip here) with veggie strips.  I like to use raw vegetables that don't have much of their own flavor.  Jicama is probably my favorite, and I also like celery.  Carrots or bell pepper strips are other options.  Isn't there something wonderful about dipping veggies into veggies? I love it.
  3. Eat veggies in the mornings.  Whether it's spinach in a smoothie (see above) or any kind of veggie you can think of mixed into a frittata or omelet. Salsa on eggs counts.
  4. Stir fry. In my mind, stir fries are not just for Asian food.  You can take any veggie and any protein, season it the way you want, and you have an instant balanced meal.
  5. Replace pastas with veggies. Spaghetti or angel hair --> spaghetti squash or julienned zucchini noodles. Lasagna noodles --> thinly sliced zucchini or yellow squash. Rice or couscous --> diced cauliflower.
  6. Eat a salad everyday.  I like to bring a big entree salad for lunch, some people would rather have a salad for a dinner appetizer.
  7. Put anything (and everything) on a bed of lettuce. Tuna salad, chicken salad, fajita meat and peppers, burger meat, taco meat, anything!
  8.  At restaurants, ask to substitute naughty foods for more vegetables. i.e.-I always sub my potatoes for extra steamed broccoli or other veggies.
  9.  Load up plain foods.  Burgers, pizza, chicken: pile sky high with vegetable toppings. Even better, use lettuce instead of tortilla wraps or buns. I also load up my salads. The more toppings (sometimes other vegetables, sometimes fruit and nuts) the less dressing I can use.
  10. Have them around. You won't eat 'em if you don't have 'em, so stock up that fridge!
As a bonus, I would also like to add "experiment" and "persevere."  Experiment with new vegetables. Find the ones you like and the ones you (or your husband/family) don't. No one likes every vegetable (I'm lookin at you, raw broccoli). Persevere because the more you eat, the more your taste buds will learn to enjoy the healthy food you are eating.  Eating such nutrient dense food can work wonders on those crazy food cravings, too.

Anyone else have any sneaky veggie tricks?




  1. One sneaky thing I've done is blended up steamed cauliflower and turned to 'mashed potatoes'. They really were great! I think every vegetable is delicious roasted with a bit of salt and olive oil and a ton of freshly ground pepper. Asparagus and sweet potato fries are my favs that way!

    1. I love the ideas! I have tried the fake mashed potatoes a few times, and cannot get them to turn out quite you have any good recipes?

  2. love. love. vegetables.

    like... love.

  3. great healthy good tips!