It’s often difficult to add vegetables to your diet on a daily basis if it is something you are unaccustomed to. A few years ago, I decided to increase my daily servings of vegetables from basically zero to 3-5 servings a day. The simple thought of the act seemed easy enough. Yet when I first began taking the time to prepare, cook, and eat the vegetables, I realized just how much of a veggie-rookie I was. But as time passed, I discovered new ways of incorporating the vegetables. These ways were different to me, fun to experiment with, and great learning experience. Not to mention, it was all in good health. I now know that these are the key components to adding and continuing to add vegetables in your daily diet.
Find your staple veggie.
Discover what vegetable you enjoy the most. This could be the veggie you find the easiest to cook. It could be the one that your family likes to eat. Or it could simply be the one you dislike to least. Whatever the reason, find a vegetable that you can dedicate as the staple vegetable. This means you keep some of the veggie of your choice in stock at all times. My two staples are frozen corn and fresh spinach. Having a constant vegetable ensures that you will have no excuse to be unable to whip up a serving of vegetables. If a busy schedule leaves your dinner veggie-less, not to fear – your staple is near!
Mix it up.
If you fall into a rut, you will begin to despise the rut-causing veggie. Steamed broccoli night after night? Change it up. Add chopped broccoli to some rice. Or sprinkle the broccoli with some cheese. Switch up your staple if you can. Or flat out cook a different veggie! Just don’t turn your vegetable journey into a boring, bland one.
Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Branch out to vegetables you have never tried before. Don’t let the thought of not enjoying the vegetable discourage you, and if you don’t know how to cook or prepare it, that’s OK too; there are plenty of “How to” articles on the Internet. I’ve recently tried a spaghetti squash which turned out to be very tasty indeed. Here is an article about my spaghetti squash experiment. Also, a few months ago, I discovered sweet potatoes – easy to prepare, easy to cook, delicious to eat! Experimenting with new vegetables helps with avoiding veggie-ruts as well.
If you aren’t determined to start and continue a daily veggie consumption, then this won’t work. You need to really work at keeping this up. Eventually, though, after exploring the different options and including vegetables on a daily basis, this will become more natural and habitual.
Here are some dinner ideas.
-If I need a simple vegetable side dish, I usually go for a baked sweet potato or a heap of corn. In my opinion, these are the simplest vegetables to prepare.
-I am Queen of Casseroles, and I always add chopped spinach in mine. The spinach is barely noticeable in the casseroles, so it’s a great way to incorporate vegetables in a picky eater’s diet.
-A family favorite is breakfast skillet night. Along with chopped potatoes, eggs, and turkey kielbasa, I include chopped onions and broccoli (seasoned with chili powder).
-For a quick meal, I make scrambled eggs with fresh spinach.
-Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti is my newest dish. The squash is actually very simple to prepare and goes great with spaghetti sauce. Again, here is an article about spaghetti squash.
-Spruced up salads are a great side dish, but are often considered boring. Here are some ways to make your salads a lot more appetizing, all while including a lot of vegetables.
-I love twice-baked potatoes. I mix in finely chopped spinach, carrots, broccoli, and onions in mine, along with some cheese, chili powder, and turkey kielbasa.
-In case of a veggie-less dinner, you can whip up a fruit and veggie smoothie that supplies almost all of the recommended vegetable servings. Check out this article for my favorite smoothie recipe.
-Soup is one of those foods you can squeeze in practically any vegetable. There are so many different vegetable soup recipes online, many of which have multiple vegetables that you can easy add to.
-Another article to check out is this one. It has some more ideas for boosting nutritional value on common “unhealthy” dinners, such as pizza, cheeseburgers, and tacos.