No matter how healthy your diet is, it’s hard to argue against getting a little bit more produce on your plate. But if veggies aren’t your favorite foods, it can seem a chore to get the recommended two to three cups every day. Just because you’re aiming to get more vegetables doesn’t mean you have to eat a big bowl of (delicious) steamed spinach. It’s simple to create satisfying meals that include plenty of vegetables.
1. Start with breakfast
It’s a bit cliché, but it’s true that your first meal has a huge impact on the rest of the day. Breakfasts high in fiber and protein will jumpstart your metabolism and energy levels. Savory oatmeal may sound out of the ordinary, but the secret’s out on this health food’s versatility with cooked veggies.
If you don’t have time for a whole cooking session and sit-down meal every morning, don’t worry. There are plenty of other ways to up your vegetable intake with portable, nutritious breakfasts. Get going in the mornings with some sweet and healthy breakfast cookies made with pumpkin, zucchini, and carrot.
2. Get sneaky
You can always find room to sneak a few more veggies and get a little more nutritional bang for your buck. Slip some spinach in your grilled cheese. Mushrooms are a great addition to pasta sauce. Add peppers or avocado to your morning eggs. Adding a veggie or two here and there is a gateway to discovering more ways to add bonus nutrition to your meals.
3. Concentrate on your favorites
Variety is the key to great nutrition. But there’s nothing wrong with fulfilling your recommended servings with your favorite produce. If you love tomatoes, fill your dishes with several varieties prepared in different ways. If you love onions, add them to your mac and cheese, eggs, or steak. Vegetables beget vegetables. The more you use your favorites, the more you’ll find yourself experimenting with new vegetables. If kale isn’t your favorite, ignore it for now and try again when you’ve built up the confidence.
4. Put some cheese on it
There’s no shame in adding some delicious cheese to your meal. Cheese goes great on so many different vegetables: broccoli, sweet potatoes, kale, asparagus, brussel sprouts, sweet peppers. And don’t let yourself get in a cheddar slump. There are hundreds of wonderful cheeses with health benefits. Mix it up with some cave-aged gruyere, smoked gouda, or creamy brie.
5. Don’t juice it — blend it
Good nutrition generally involves eating foods in their most natural form. The right combo of fruits and vegetables creates a sweet vitamin boost. Go with a healthy green smoothie rather than a green juice. It’ll preserve the fiber for a fuller feeling. Fiber also prevents the sugar in the juice from hitting your bloodstream so fast you get the shakes. Be wary of any miracle foods or cleanses claiming to be the instant key to weight loss. Keeping your diet wholesome and unprocessed unlocks a clean eating revolution.
6. Keep the change incremental
Whenever you’re changing habits, it’s tempting to change everything at once. It feels great to go all in at first, but over time you could find your willpower depleted. Most people have the best success when they gradually increase habits over time. Think of it like a muscle: start small and work it almost every day.
No matter which vegetables you choose to add, or how you choose to add them, start small and work your way up. If you keep it consistent, you’ll find soon enough you’re craving big salads with all the fixings.