The recommendation is 4 to 7 servings of Vegetables every day for Long Life Eating. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Check out my tips below on how to get more vegetables in your diet.
Serve yourself a double portion every time – It’s the simplest way to get more vegetables into your diet. At first, it’ll seem odd to have your lunch or dinner plate so full of green, but in time, it will be a welcome habit. Make sure you haven’t “de-healthed” your vegetables with excessive butter, oil or fat. Otherwise, your calorie count will surge. Also, don’t double up on high-starch vegetables like corn and potatoes, since they’re higher in calories.
Flavor your vegetables the tasty, healthy way – Steamed or raw vegetables are boring. But you needn’t smother them in butter or sauté them with bacon – as most restaurants do – to deliver great flavor. There are many ways to make vegetables delicious without pushing up their calorie count.
Add microwave baby carrots and frozen peas or chopped green beans every time you heat up soup. Microwaving the carrots allows you to add them to the soup full cooked; otherwise they need simmering time to soften. And you will also get more vitamin A from cooked carrots. Frozen vegetables need only be heated through, so you can add them directly to the simmering soup. In a few minutes, you’ll have a hearty lunch or light supper.
Use vegetables in place of Pasta – Most sauces that work well on pasta work well on vegetables, too. Serve Spaghetti sauce over steamed green beans or strands of luscious spaghetti squash. Make Lasagna with strips of eggplant of zucchini in place of noodles. Make “cauliflower and cheese” in place of “Macaroni and cheese”.
Get into a raw-vegetable habit. Tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, celery, radishes, broccoli and bell peppers are just a few examples of vegetables that are outstanding to eat raw. Try to get in the habit of a daily raw-vegetable snack – if you eat them unadorned, you can eat as many as you wish! Also, put out a plate of raw vegetables at every dinner. You and your loved ones will naturally nibble them throughout a meal.
Start every dinner with a salad. That’s at least one serving – and if you fill your bowl with your favorite salad vegetables, you’ll start the meal with a smile. If you dislike iceberg lettuce, try a beautiful salad green mix or baby spinach. Add juicy produce like tomatoes, sliced red bell peppers, or even strawberries or raspberries. For more flavor, sprinkle chopped fresh herbs such as basil and cilantro on top. Drizzle with a teaspoon of oil and a teaspoon of lemon juice.
Sip vegetable juice with your afternoon snack. A glass of low-sodium, low sugar vegetable juice counts as a full serving of vegetables. Tomato-based juices are high in antioxidant lycopene.
Ask for a plain vegetable in place of potatoes or noodles when you eat in a restaurant. Choose one that’s not fried or served in a creamy or oil-based sauce. If nothing fits that description, ask for a green salad instead.
Instead of cheese ask for a layer of vegetables to your sandwich. We like dark, green lettuce, fresh herbs, sliced tomatoes, and onion. But leftover vegetables from last night’s dinner can be delicious, too: How about a turkey sandwich with grilled zucchini?
Turn cold cooked vegetables in a side salad. Don’t let leftover green beans, peas, carrots, beets, asparagus, corn, or other vegetables go to waste. Simply serve with lunch as a cold salad topped with a spritz of lemon juice and a dash of coarsely ground black pepper.
Use shredded vegetables in cooking. Finely shredded carrots, cabbage, lettuce, squash, and other vegetables add wonderful texture to many dished that might not otherwise include such healthy ingredients. Add to soups, pasta sauces, and even rice dishes. Or use the vegetables as a bed for your chicken or fish. Smart habit: Keep a tightly sealed container of shredded vegetables in your refrigerator with the goal of using it up over the next three or four days, just sauté it with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs for a terrific side dish.
Remember, that the important part is just making small changes every day and every week, and eventually you will be eating the 4 to 7 servings each day and actually ENJOYING them!
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