Hey there! Today I thought we could talk about something that I think is really important when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle- and that’s incorporating vegetables into your diet!
Everyone knows how important it is to eat a lot of vegetables, but now that I am taking a Nutrition Certification program through my job and Tuft’s University, I am starting to understand more about why it’s so important. Learning about the different vitamins and minerals and understanding how they work in the body just reinforces this habit for me.
That being said, I know a lot of people don’t really like eating veggies which can make it a challenge to work them into meals. I know when I first moved in with Fabio and started cooking dinner for us both he was not a veggie eater, but now things have changed! He always compliments me on my veggies and eats every bite (hopefully he’s not just being nice, haha).
So if you have some picky eaters in your household or you’re just unsure about how to incorporate more veggies into your meals, this post is for you! I’m mostly going to concentrate on how to work more veggies into your dinners, but I’ve listed a couple alternative veggie options at the bottom of this post (even cookies!).
Option 1: Keep it simple
Maybe this sounds silly, but my favorite way to eat vegetables is just plain and simple. I love to roast them in the oven with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Sometimes I throw in a few other tasty additions like chopped onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, sundried tomatoes, etc.
You can use any veggies you have on hand and even combine a few different ones in one batch. My favorite veggies to eat this way include carrots, broccoli, brussels sprouts, squash, and asparagus. Usually when I’m roasting vegetables I’ll just throw whatever I have into the mix, and I’ve yet to try a combination of vegetables I didn’t like. This method of cooking veggies is a great way to try some local farmer’s market produce that’s in season.
By rule of thumb you can remember that whatever grows together goes together (e.g., summer veggies all taste good together, same with winter ones, etc.)
Here’s exactly how I do it:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheet with tinfoil
- Prep all veggies by washing/chopping
- Toss all the veggies into a large bowl or Ziploc bag
- Add olive oil, salt, pepper, and any additions you might want
- Pop them into the oven and cook until desired consistency is reached, flipping halfway through (usually 25-30 minutes)
With a little chopped onion and some garlic, you’d be amazed at how delicious these veggies come out. It’s seriously my favorite way to eat them. If you’ve never tried this you really should give it a go!
Option 2: Incorporate veggies into a dinner bowl My second way to incorporate veggies into a meal is by making some sort of “dinner bowl” with a yummy sauce and throw all the veggies into the mix. Here’s how I typically make these:
- Start with some kind of base for the bowl (e.g., brown rice, pasta, roasted potatoes/sweet potatoes, or spaghetti squash)
- Add in some roasted or sauteed veggies (brussels sprouts, broccoli, and carrots work great for these)
- Add some meat (this is optional, but I like to add grilled chicken, chicken sausage, or turkey meatballs)
- Pick a sauce. I usually create something myself with Laughing Cow cheese, Greek yogurt, spices, and any herbs I have lying around. Another favorite is a Thai peanut sauce made with Better N Peanut Butter which is delicious! To make this, simply find any Thai peanut recipe (Google and Pinterest are great for this) and replace the peanut butter with Better N Peanut Butter to slash the fat and calories.
Yum. I could totally go for one of these bowls right now (note to self: do not write posts about cooking when you’re hungry!!). These are such good comfort food, can be made with some really good, wholesome ingredients.
Option 3: Work veggies into your main dish
Veggies don’t have to just be stuck on the sidelines at dinner, you can make them the star of the show! A lot of people think of veggies as “just a side dish” to go with your meat, but I don’t think that has to be true. I like to challenge myself to make a veggie the main dish at dinner, and often times it works out quite well!
Some examples to get you thinking include replacing spaghetti noodles with spaghetti squash, stuffing a sweet potato with different veggies (this is filling enough to be main dish on its own without the need for any meat), or make a giant salad full 0f veggies! Tuna salad and chicken salad count too!
- Fruity Spinach Smoothie
- Quinoa Veggie Burgers
- Broccoli Fritters
- Cauliflower “Fried Rice”
- Cauliflower Fritters
- Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- World’s Best Broccoli
- Zucchini Cookies with Cream Cheese Icing
- Pattypan Squash Chocolate Bread
Whatever you choose, just eat your veggies! I hope this post has been helpful for any of you picky eaters out there! 😉
Question of the day: Do you eat veggies? How do you cook them? How many times can I say the word “veggies” in one post? Haha.