6 Ways To Eat More Veggies
By Molly Pelletier, Nutritionist & Healthy YouTuber
Nutrition can be a confusing world to navigate with an abundance of diet trends and food fads floating around social media. However, one universal truth that can benefit virtually everyone is eating more vegetables! Diets rich in vegetables have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals which are vital for optimal health. Vegetables are also naturally low in fat and calories, making them an excellent food for weight management. Not only does eating veggies help promote a healthy weight, but they also contain fiber which nourishes our gut microbiome!
Below are six healthy hacks for adding more vegetables into your diet, as well as delicious ways to incorporate vegetables into your favorite meals.
1. Be Prepared and Prep Ahead of Time.
When life gets busy, nutrition often falls by the wayside simply because of the time and effort it takes to prepare a healthy meal. In order to set yourself up for success, it’s important to make the healthy choice, the easy choice. By prepping veggies ahead of time and having healthy plant-based snacks on hand, you are less likely to reach for junk food. Chopping cucumbers, peeling carrots, and washing your greens allows for quick and easy snacking or meal building.
2. Eat Your Veggies First.
When building your plate, reach for veggies first and then choose your protein and carbohydrate source. One of my favorite ways to create a quick and delicious plant-based meal with virtually any ingredients in my pantry is by making Lettuce Wraps. First, sautee veggies of your choice with your favorite spices and some avocado oil. Next, add a protein! I love sauteing frozen shrimp or tempe because they are super quick and versatile. Then I generously fill romaine leaves with veggies, protein, and top with avocado or seeds for an added dose of healthy fats.
3. Frozen Veggies Are Your Friend!
Save yourself from making frequent trips to the grocery store, by stocking up on frozen vegetables. Buying frozen veggies can be a convenient and less expensive way to incorporate a variety of nutritious vegetables. I recommend frozen peppers for adding to tacos and bowls, as well as frozen green beans for an easy side dish.
A nutrient-dense, green smoothie is one of the best ways to sneak in extra vegetables without even tasting them! I add frozen zucchini, spinach, kale, and even cauliflower to my smoothies. This adds fiber and filling-power to your smoothie, while also helping you to increase your vegetable consumption. Buying frozen spinach (instead of fresh) also helps save money and will keep in the freezer for long periods of time, ensuring that you always have greens for your smoothies. Here is my Daily Green Smoothie recipe for gut health and glowing skin.
4. Roast it!
If you don’t prefer a particular vegetable, try roasting it with some avocado oil and your favorite spices! Roasting can completely transform the flavor and texture of a vegetable. Roasting your veggies until tender allows the starches and sugars in the plant to break down, often making them soft and sweet. I love roasting a big sheet pan of squash or sweet potato with cinnamon, avocado oil, and salt for easy snacking, adding to salads, or making Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowls with yogurt and fresh berries.
Another tip: Avocado oil is a great cooking oil due to it’s high smoke point. A higher smoke point allows the healthy fats to stay intact under high heat during roasting or sauteing. Extra virgin olive oil has a lower smoke point, and therefore is better to drizzle on top of salads or bowls post-cooking.
5. Spiralize Your Veggies For Added Color & Texture.
A spiralizer is an amazing kitchen tool that can seriously elevate your vegetable consumption. You can purchase pre-spiralized veggies in the produce section of most groceries stores, or pick up a spiralizer on Amazon and get creative! You can spiralize zucchini for zoodles, sweet potato for curries, or even carrots for a Carrot Noodle Stir-fry. Incorporating spiralized veggies is an excellent way to make fun vegetable salads and dishes. Add them to your next pasta dish for a low-carb and nutrient-dense alternative.
6. Make a Colorful Snack Plate.
It’s true that eating the rainbow can have powerful health effects! Vegetables derive their pigment from various antioxidants and phytochemicals, which all yield different health benefits. Arranging a variety of brightly-colored raw vegetables on your next snack plate or charcuterie board can be a beautiful and nutritious way to eat your vegetables. Snap peas, bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, and radishes all make delicious vehicles for your favorite dips. Better yet, try creating your very own plant-based dips with a dose of added vegetables, like this easy Beet Hummus.
Molly Pelletier is a Nutritionist and Dietetics Student at Boston University. She is also a 500-hour certified Yoga & Meditation Instructor who frequently shares yoga sculpt classes and health tips on her youtube channel. For more gut health and digestion tips, follow @zucchini.who on Instagram and Molly Pelletier on YouTube.