You hear it all the time, eat more veggies! Yet somehow, most Americans are not eating
enough vegetables. You should shoot for a minimum of 2-3 cups of vegetables a day, but challenge yourself to get 3-4! Vegetables are a crucial part of our diet because they are some of the most micronutrient dense foods that we eat! Packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, our body needs these nutrients for many physiological processes. Not to mention, if we want optimal performance at the gym, at work, and in life in general, we need these nutrients to function at our absolute best!
Here are 7 easy ways to pack more veggies into your day:
1. Add spinach or kale to your smoothie. When these leafy, nutritional power houses are blended up in a smoothie with fruits like pineapple or banana, you can barely taste them! My favorite thing to do is buy a couple big bags of fresh spinach and immediately toss them in the freezer. This way they will not go bad and they will be smoothie ready whenever I need them.
2. Roast a couple of sheets of veggies at the beginning of the week to add to meals throughout the week. My current favorite is brussels sprouts but I will often roast cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant and zucchini.
3. Eat a veggie with your breakfast. If you follow step two above, it’s SO easy to just add some roasted veggies to eggs in the morning. My favorite breakfast lately has been a baked sweet potato, pre-prepped roasted veggies and homemade turkey breakfast sausage. It keeps me feeling satisfied ALL morning long! You can also use tip #1 and add spinach to your breakfast smoothie.
4. Aim to eat a vegetable at every meal. Make sure that every time you eat a meal (bonus if you do the same at every snack!), you are getting 1-2 servings of veggies. Don’t know what a serving of veggies looks like? Make a fist; the size of your fist is approximately the size of one serving of veggies for you.
5. When building a meal, fill one half of your plate with veggies to start, then add your protein and healthy carbohydrate sources. This also helps control your portions of protein and carbohydrate.
6. Salad, salad, SALAD! I know it seems like a simple suggestion, but a big salad is one of the BEST ways to get in multiple servings of veggies in one sitting. Additionally, leafy greens have numerous amazing nutrients that are hard to find elsewhere. One serving of leafy greens is about two cups of greens. When choosing a salad, avoid iceberg lettuce as it is mostly water. Shoot for spring greens, spinach, arugula, romaine or green & red lettuce. Top your salad with other veggies like carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, or those roasted veggies you made at the beginning of the week. Add some type of lean protein (chicken, turkey, tuna, tofu, or edamame all work well).Then finish it off with a healthy dressing made with olive oil.
7. Make a tasty veggie pesto using kale, spinach or arugula. Top your eggs, roasted veggies or protein with this nutrient-packed sauce.
Now that you know some great new ways to fit more veggies into your day, get out there and do it!