We all know the importance of good nutrition, but many of us wonder how to eat more vegetables when we don’t like them. Trying to get your 3 to 5 servings a day can seem overwhelming but these 10 easy ways to eat more vegetables will help you meet your goal.
1. Make salsa: Technically ‘salsa’ is any kind of sauce, but let’s not get caught up on technical details. Instead, think of vegetable salsa as a chance to eat chips! Making a salsa is simple: dice up some zucchini or shredded carrots, seeded tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, and red onion. Add a minced, seeded jalapeno, some olive oil and a splash of red vinegar or freshly-squeezed lime juice. Stir in some minced fresh cilantro or parsley then season with salt and pepper and chill for an hour to let the flavors meld. (Check out how to make homemade baked tortilla chips here.)
2. Breakfast for dinner (or breakfast): Saute mushrooms, onions, and kale or spinach then stuff them into an omelet. Or mound them in your skillet and make a few dents in the top with the back of a wooden spoon. Crack an egg into each dent, turn down the heat and cover the skillet until the egg whites are set. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and tell your family you’re serving Eggs in the Grass.
3. Smoothies: Blend some canned pumpkin, a banana, some pumpkin pie seasoning and milk to make a delicious smoothie that tastes like a dessert. Feeling more adventurous? Blend 2 cups raw baby spinach, a banana, a small container of vanilla yogurt and some water. No, really: it shocked me how delicious this tasted, and even my son drank it down happily despite the incredibly bright green color!
4. A Salad Bar In Your Fridge Wrap washed and torn lettuce in paper towels and store it in an air-tight container in your fridge. Chop your favorite salad veggies (remove seeds from tomatoes and cucumbers), and stash them in separate containers, too. Serve your “salad bar” before dinner, letting everyone put together their favorite combination. Top with your favorite homemade salad dressing. (Check out these tips for making salad last all week.)
6. Serve ’em as Snacks Instead of telling your kids not to eat before dinner for fear they’ll ruin their appetite why not surprise them by setting out a nice crudite spread? Just mound a platter with celery sticks, baby carrots, sliced radishes, chopped bell peppers, grape tomatoes, and even fresh green beans. Serve with a bowl of homemade hummus or small cups of low-fat dip made using homemade ranch dressing powder and sour cream or pureed homemade cottage cheese for a protein boost. They’ll feel like they’re at a fancy party, and you’ll feel good letting them munch away.
7. Do Double Duty With Dips Ramp up the veggies by dipping them in more veggies made into a dip. Try making your own guacamole by mashing avocado with lemon or lime juice and stirring in chopped red onion, seeded tomato and cumin. Or make Mushroom Pate: saute sliced mushrooms, onions and garlic together then mix it in a food processor with fresh parsley, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. (Chill before serving.)
8. Homemade Veggie Chips There are recipes all over the internet for homemade kale chips, and I’ve yet to find one I didn’t like. You can make homemade baked chips out of most root vegetables, too. Just slice thinly, toss with a small amount of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake at 375°F for around 20 minutes, turning halfway through.
9. Serve Up Soup Summer is a great time for cold soups like gazpacho, chilled beet soup, and even Vichyssoise (cold potato soup). If you prefer your soup hot, save leftover vegetables (and meat) through the week then make a soup out of them. We call this “Refrigerator Soup” in my house and I’ve yet to find a combination of leftovers that don’t taste good. To make a creamy soup from leftovers, add pureed steamed cauliflower and a little milk at the end before adjusting your seasonings to taste.
10. Put ’em On Pizza Go the mini-pizza route by topping homemade whole wheat English muffins with pizza sauce, chopped vegetables and cheese, or make your own pizza dough. Worried your kids will refuse to eat when they see the vegetables? Then put the veg on before the sauce — what they don’t see won’t make them complain. After all, who doesn’t like pizza?
Equipment I’ve Used For This: