Kids aren't the only ones who turn their nose up and cross their arms when a plate of leafy greens are placed in front of them at the dinner table; adults do it too! For some, the struggle to find a way to successfully include veggies in your diet can seem a nearly impossible task. We've managed to come up with 10 easy ways to make vegetables a tasty commodity in your diet. Check it out!
1. Make vegetables a mandatory topping to your dish. Toss sautéed vegetables on top of your lean proteins and pastas, and flavor them enough to the point where eating the entree alone would taste incomplete without a hearty serving of sautéed vegetables on top. Check out our Shrimp and Vegetable Stir-Fry!
2. Replace your carbs with vegetables. Some of the most carb-heavy foods are absolutely delicious, and can be easily modified with a simple ingredient swap that still allows the dish to achieve its intended level of tasty. For example, instead of taco shells, use leafy greens; instead of hamburger buns, use Portobello mushrooms; instead of sliced bread, use eggplant; instead of French fries, try butternut squash, turnips or carrots, instead of mashed potatoes, try cauliflower; and finally, instead lasagna or pasta, use zucchini or eggplant. Read more about skinny swaps here.
>> Click here to see our Portobella Mushroom Cap recipe!
3. Salsa dance for every meal. Make large batches of salsa from scratch and top it on anything you can think of — tacos, sautéed vegetables, salads, omelets and quesadillas. It's low-cal and full of nutrients! Salsa recipes are fun to tinker with; go experiment until you find one that you simply can’t get enough of! Click here to get our Copycat Chipotle Pico de Gallo recipe, and check out this easy 5-minute salsa recipe below:
4. Sneak spinach into your meals. Throw it into stews, casseroles, pizzas and soufflés while no one is watching. Sneaking spinach into your dish is easier than you think, and you'll be glad you did since it will add volume and plenty of nutrients without putting a dent in the caloric load. For example, check out our Lean Turkey and Spinach Lasagna recipe!
>> Curious for more? Click here to see 8 recipes to sneak spinach in.
5. Make your vegetables delicious. Experiment with different cooking methods, sauces, herbs and spices that will make your vegetables worth eating. Figure out what you like your vegetables paired with (i.e., proteins, pastas, rice, wraps), then figure out how you liked them cooked according to what it’s eaten with. Vegetables are prepared a certain way depending on what cuisine they're served in, and the recipes for each are endless. Go explore!
6. Take your vegetables skinny dipping. Skip the chips and crackers and grab raw vegetables. For those who enjoy eating hummus, fava bean dip, buffalo chicken dip or creamy spinach dip with chips and crackers, try eating them with a platter full of freshly cut carrots, celery, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Most of what you are craving is the dip itself, so you will barely notice the fact that you're dipping celery into your hummus instead of a pita chip. Click here to try out our Skinny Spinach Artichoke Dip.
7. Cook at home. Eating out is fun, but some restaurants don’t provide enough vegetables to their dishes, and when they do, they are usually prepared in an unhealthy manner. Cooking at home allows you to control how things are cooked, how much is being cooked, and everything else in between. Not to mention you save money when you cook at home, so start looking at some recipes to whip up!
8. Learn to love smoothies. Turning your daily amount of fruits and vegetables into a tasty liquid is easy and delicious. Make smoothies for breakfast, post-work snacks and even dessert — experiment with the wide range of recipes, and enjoy!
>> Click here to read your guide to make a great green smoothie.
9. Always make a salad for dinner. Making a family dinner? Along with your other dishes, make a large salad with a variety of toppings and dressings to choose from to accommodate the taste preferences of the people eating dinner.
10. Cook in advance. Meal planning is a great way to force you and your family to eat the food you have planned out for the week — this is especially true if you make large batches of something that can be stored and thawed out for dinner the next day or later in the week.
Have another way of getting your daily vegetables in? Comment below!