8 Ways to Add More Veggies to Your Diet
Vegetables are an important source of many key nutrients and can help with health concerns including blood pressure, heart health, and hunger cues. But, did you know only 1 in 10 Americans are getting the recommended daily intake of veggies? 2-3 cups of veggies per day is the current recommended daily intake, and we’ve compiled our top 8 ways to help you achieve that goal.
- Veggie noodles
Veggie noodles are a great way to add more produce without sacrificing your favorite meals. You can incorporate a wide variety of veggies with them and still get the same great flavor of a traditional pasta dish. If you have a spiralizer, you can spiralize fresh veggies including zucchini, sweet potatoes, summer squash, carrots, cucumbers, beets, and butternut squash to add color and texture to your favorite meals. I like to lightly sauté with a drizzle of olive oil (it just takes a minute or two) and use in my favorite go-to salads, or pastas with fresh lemon vinaigrette, roasted chickpeas and crumbled feta. Crunched for time? Many stores carry an array of frozen veggie spirals that are ready to go in a pinch!
- Add veggies to sauces
This is a great method to adding more veggies if you have picky eaters in the family. Sauce is a great way to disguise more vegetables without some of the common taste/texture opposition. Finely dice red bell pepper, mushrooms, and onion and sauté with your favorite seasoning before adding to your favorite marinara or red sauce. You can even blend the veggies before adding to the sauce to ensure consistency. This is my go to way to incorporate more veggies in our homemade pizzas.
- The power of cauliflower
Cauliflower’s versatility has been a wonder in increasing veggie intake for many people. Cauliflower crust, cauliflower rice, and cauliflower mash are some of the most popular uses for this veggie and a great way to replace starchy potatoes, refined flour, and white rice.
One easy way to increase your veggie intake is to drink them. Incorporating a handful of spinach, kale, avocado, pumpkin, beets, or carrots is a great way to bump up that intake without having to be too creative in incorporating them into meals. They often disguise in taste with your favorite fruits so this is another great way disguise some greens for picky eaters.
- Don't forget breakfast
Breakfast often gets skipped as a meal that can be packed with veggies. Instead of an egg scramble with a handful of veggies, try reversing the ratio and sautéing some of your favorite veggies and at the end cracking an egg or two in it to pull it all together. You can also try a side of veggies in addition to a side of fruit in the morning. One of my favorite morning meals is a big breakfast salad – some crispy bacon and soft-boiled eggs over a bed of spinach with sliced avocado is so delicious, and easy to prep in advance!
- Frozen veggies
Keeping a stock of frozen veggies is an easy way to make sure you have plenty of veggie options, even when they’re not necessarily in season. They are just as nutritious as fresh produce, are often more cost effective, and last substantially longer than fresh bought. Many frozen veggie products also have a steamable bag option, which can cut down on prep time and dishes!
- Prep Veggies and Keep out on top shelf of fridge
Do you have a produce drawer in your fridge that all your veggies pile up in and inevitably go bad? Try keeping your produce out in plain sight in your fridge to help you remember and reach for them first. It is also helpful to prep all of your produce when you get home from the store, so they're ready to consume when you get a snack craving.
- Add more veggies to your favorite salads
Salads do not have to be boring! I know it’s easy to get a favorite salad recipe and stick with it, but there is so much diversity that can be added just by switching up or adding new veggies to your favorite salads. Sometimes it just takes adding a little extra something to a tried and true recipe to make it come back to life. I love adding roasted veggies to my salads to give them more flavor and texture. An assortment of greens can also be helpful in keeping your salads interesting and nutrient dense.
Getting adequate veggies in a day is a great habit to start at any point in your health journey. While we know it can be tricky to get started, we hope these tips give you a jump start in getting those 2-3 cups a day! Looking for more recipes to incorporate your favorite foods? Schedule an appointment with one of our registered dietitians to get custom meal plans and personalized insight into your health goals.