Have you been trying to get more vegetables into your diet? Unless you are naturally experimental when it comes to food, it can be intimidating to jump into the deep end of unknown vegetables. Well, you may know of these vegetables, but you may not know how to prepare them, or what dishes highlight their inherent flavors.
Whatever your reason for wanting to eat more vegetables, we endorse it! Fresh vegetables are loaded with essential nutrients that the body requires for the optimal function of all organs and systems. Some of you may have that little voice in the back of your head saying, “Eat more veggies. Trust me…they’re good for you.” That’s a great voice to have, provided you listen to it. Trying new vegetables is a great way to step out of your comfort zone, absorb a wide variety of nutrients, and learn to create new and exciting dishes, which you can store in your cooking arsenal.
Expose Yourself to More Veggies:
One of the best ways to expose yourself to more vegetables is to shop for what is in season. Head to local farmers markets, or stop in grocery stores to see what seasonal produce is offered. Buying produce that is in season can actually save you money! Once you buy these vegetables, you can search recipes online or in cookbooks and make the ones that appeal to you. Better yet, search for seasonal recipes prior to your grocery run so you can get everything that you need for the meals that entice you.
Make Veggies Easy and Available:
What we mean by “make your veggies available” is that they shouldn’t be hiding from you in the refrigerator. Have them in plain sight so that you are more likely to use them. If they are behind some containers or shoved underneath things in a drawer, you are less likely to use them. Learn how to store your produce as well! Not everything goes in the fridge! Using vegetables involves prep work, so prepping them ahead of time can make cooking with them a lot easier.
Drink Your Veggies:
Drinking your veggies is an excellent way to get more green vegetables in your diet. You can actually get a full day’s worth of green vegetables in one homemade green juice or smoothie! Because the flavor of green smoothies can be intense, it is best to add other bold flavors like strawberries, blueberries, ginger, banana, watermelon, or pineapple. Visit our smoothie section for some inspiration.
Use Veggies in Every Dish You Make:
If you start using vegetables in every meal (well, you don’t have to eat them for breakfast, even though you can), it will become a habit. Are you craving pasta, but are unsure how to add vegetables to the dish? Use zucchini noodles or add spinach, kale, or broccoli to your favorite pasta dish. It is also best to make your own sauce from scratch with fresh tomatoes. If you are going to eat pasta, try to buy pasta made from quinoa, chickpeas, or lentils. When it comes to your salads, try varying your salad ingredients and dressings so that you continue to entice your palate.
Start Your Day With Veggies:
Vegetables for breakfast? That is every child’s worst nightmare! Don’t be scared, though, because it is very easy to incorporate vegetables into your breakfast schedule. You could make butternut squash muffins, or eat a breakfast wrap with spinach, hummus, cucumbers, and tomatoes. You can also add some spinach or kale to a fruit smoothie!
Seasonings, Dips, and Sauces:
Some vegetables, herbs in particular, can enhance the flavor of a mundane dish. For example, beets can bring a sweet, earthy richness to some homemade hummus, and cilantro and parsley can awaken a dish to make it vibrant. Don’t be afraid to experiment and use ingredients like ginger, turmeric, garlic, and fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage, mint, or parsley. Make an avocado dressing with cilantro, or a spicy chimichurri sauce.
It can be beneficial to set goals for yourself and keep track of what you accomplish. You’ll come to realize that it is fun and exciting to see all the new things, to which you are exposing yourself. A few possible goals could be buying five new vegetables at the store, eating meatless a few days out of the week, or even having a vegetable only day. You could even dedicate a week to making dishes with sprouts, artichokes, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. Get excited about it and step up to the challenge.