8 Ways to Eat More Vegetables And Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions Alive
If one of your goals for 2016 is to amp up your healthy eating game — listen up. Sticking to your resolutions is tough, especially if it involves changing habits and behaviors, and over a third of Americans put the kibosh on theirs before the end of January. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of us aren't eating enough vegetables — about 50% less than the recommended daily serving. Obviously, getting your veg on is a must if wellness is a top priority (antioxidants, fiber, nutrients and all that). If you're finding it difficult to get your 3-a-day in, scroll through for 8 easy tips that will make upping your veggie intake a total breeze, so you can turn your resolution into a real-deal everyday thing.
1. Be Prepared: Do yourself a favor and prep vegetables ahead of time to make putting together healthy meals and snacks an exercise in effortless. Mix together salads and portion them out on Sunday night, then simply toss them in your work tote for lunch or serve them alongside dinner. You can even roast vegetables ahead of time to enjoy throughout the week on their own or on top of quinoa, rice or lentils.
2. Dress 'Em Up: Simple steamed vegetables can get old fast, which doesn't exactly help your healthy-eating cause. Spicing things up — literally — will help you beat flavor fatigue. A dash of fresh herbs, garlic, coconut or olive oil, spices and citrus can instantly take bland from bursting in flavor. And the combinations are endless.
3. Start at Breakfast: Whether you're a smoothie-fanatic or live for the perfect poached egg, incorporating vegetables into your morning routine couldn't be easier. Toss a carrot or a handful of kale into your smoothie or add chopped peppers, cherry tomatoes and spinach to an omelet or scramble. The extra fiber will help keep you feeling fuller longer and ready to take on that to-do list.
4. Swap Out Sauces for Veg: Skip the sauce and use sautéed vegetables or homemade salsas (add a few seasonal fruits here too!) to flavor dishes. You'll up the amount of nutrients in your meal, while making it more filling without adding a lot of calories.
5. Think Outside the Pasta-Potato Box: It's easy to get stuck in a healthy-eating rut when you've become accustomed to certain combinations, but you don't have to totally revolutionize the way you eat to get in a few more nutrients. Add sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower or root vegetables to a classic mash or swap out half a portion of pasta for zucchini, squash or other fresh veggie noodles.
6. Says Yes to Soup: During the winter months, a cold salad isn't exactly the most appealing of meals. Our bodies crave warming, comforting dishes and that's where soup comes in. Whip up a big batch jam-packed with fresh produce (and a bit of bone broth even) and freeze half — you'll be set with a week's worth or more of (almost) ready-to-eat meals whenever you're feeling a bit of chill.
7. Make Veggies the Main Event: Plan meals around a vegetable main dish, like a stir fry, or side and then add other foods to complement it instead of the other way around.
8. Get Shredding: From traditional sauces to burgers, casseroles and baked goods, get sneaky and add shredded or chopped veg to your favorite recipes. In most cases, it won't change the flavor, just the health benefits.
Feature image by Amelia Cook via Simple Provisions