The Power of One
Most days, my goal is to squeeze in an extra serving of vegetables each day. Well, to be honest, some days it’s just to eat any vegetable at all! Don’t we all just want easy ways to sneak in health here and there?! Well, we’ve got some ideas…and it starts with the power of one.
There’s absolutely no need to make big, sweeping changes in order to check off the “I’m healthy” box. With a little creativity, you can find plenty of opportunities to sneak in an extra serving. Then, not only will it feel easy to fit more nutrition into your day, but you’ll also be adding in a dose of color, flavor and mealtime excitement!
Choosing fresh, seasonal vegetables guarantee maximum flavor and nutrition, as well as a lower price. If fresh vegetables aren’t available, frozen vegetables packaged without sauce or a seasoning are another fantastic option. They may even contain more nutrients than fresh vegetables because they’re flash frozen at their peak ripeness.
Here are some tips to up the ante on your vegetable intake. Keep at it and before you know it, eating vegetables will become part of your daily routine:
- Clean and cut vegetables when you get home from grocery shopping so they’re easy to grab for quick snacks out of the fridge.
- Prepack single-sized servings in sandwich bags for snacks “on the go.” Carrots, peppers, cucumbers, celery and pea pods are great for this!
- Throw a handful of greens in your morning smoothie along with some frozen fruit or a banana. The smoothie will turn green, but you’ll only taste the fruit!
- Add leafy greens, mushrooms or diced eggplant to your pasta sauce for a heartier pasta dinner.
- Sauté veggies with beans for a flavorful and nutritious veggie taco filling or just a great side dish.
- Use dark leafy greens (collards are one of my favorites) or cabbage leaves in place of a wrap or bread to add nutrition and crunch to any wrap or sandwich.
- Top your pizza with tomato slices, green peppers, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, or spinach.
- Grill vegetable kabobs with onions, peppers, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, and zucchini.
- Dip baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber slices, or celery into your favorite dip (try hummus or guacamole) in place of chips.
- Keep a bag of organic edamame in the freezer. You can pop it in the microwave for a quick fiber-filled, high protein snack.
- Fill an omelet with your favorite veggies (fresh or frozen) for a dinner treat in the comfort of your own home. If using frozen vegetables, warm them in the pan first, then add your egg.
- Sauté finely diced veggies like kale, carrots, turnips, peppers, even broccoli or zucchini and add to your favorite grain like rice, barley and millet for a flavorful and nutritious pilaf.
- Pile your sandwich high with vegetables. Branch out from lettuce and tomato and try cucumbers, spinach, carrot slices, radishes, pickled red onions and more.
- Have a bowl of vegetable soup with your lunch.
- Start your dinner with a salad. The water and fiber will fill you up and you’ll be less likely to over-indulge on less healthy options
Erin Pellegrin RD