Nearly nine out of ten Americans don’t consume the recommended daily number of vegetables each day. When I first heard this statistic, I thought, “there is no way this is true”. But then, I started people-watching and doing my very own unscientific polling. I watched what people ate, talked to people about what they had for dinner, etc. The long and short of it is, we don’t eat enough vegetables. Some people I spoke to said they were just tired of eating salads or vegetables were just boring. All of that may be true but not eating enough vegetables, you are just robbing yourself of some very valuable heart-healthy, cancer fighting and weight-controlling benefits.
If it’s boredom that keeps you from consuming vegetables, following are some ways to incorporate vegetables into your daily diet:
For Breakfast: Try sautéing some spinach, mushrooms and onions and folding them into your scrambled eggs. The same sautéed mix is also delicious on top of a cup of oatmeal. Left over sweet potato? For every 2 cups of pancake batter fold a ½ cup of baked sweet potato into the batter.
For Lunch: Trade your flour-based tortilla wraps with lettuce, collard green leaves or some other green leafy vegetable. Try using avocado (technically a fruit) as a spread in place of mayonnaise.
For Dinner: Replace your rice with cauliflower rice. Try adding shredded carrots and/or zucchini to your lean hamburgers. Add kale, spinach, onions, zucchini, eggplant, etc. to marinara sauce for spaghetti or lasagna.
For Dessert: Try adding beets or eggplant to your brownies. For most brownie recipes, it is safe to add 8 ounces of peeled cooked beets or eggplant into the batter and replace the oil by 1 Tbsp.
Leafy greens provide vitamin k and are good for your bones. Onions and mushroom are good for the heart. Sweet potato supports a number of health benefits including gut health, healthy vision, and immune health to name a few. Zucchini is rich in antioxidants, may reduce blood sugar levels, and contribute to healthy digestion. Avocado provides potassium, fiber, and folate.
So, you see with just a few basic healthy tweaks you can easily spice up some common everyday meals making them tasty and nutritious. Give it a try!