While consulting with clients, I am always amazed at the lack of vegetables I see in their food journals. During our consulting sessions they agree that they need to be eating more, but aren’t sure how to do it. And what about the spouse or kids-they often despise vegetables!
I can completely relate to these objections. As a child, I was the pickiest eater around-I ate cereal, sandwiches, and spaghetti-and that was it. When I got out on my own, I usually ate low fat diet food or frozen dinners. Needless to say, my diet was virtually devoid of vegetables, and I learned that I needed to make some changes.
Through my studies in Grad School, there was overwhelming evidence of the health benefits of eating vegetables. There seemed to be varying opinions on the benefits of proteins and fats, and which ones had the most positive impact on health. But vegetables? No credible source or study ever said not to eat your veggies. Be cautious of those that do.
So how to sneak those veggies in? For breakfast, my favorite daily trick is to add spinach and any leftover vegetables to an omelet or scrambled eggs. I always top with fresh salsa as an added benefit. Another great breakfast trick is to add some fresh greens (spinach, kale, etc.) to a protein smoothie. You won’t even be able to taste the difference!
Throughout the day, add a side salad with lunch or even make it your entire meal. I love starting with mixed greens and chopped tomatoes, adding some healthy fats such as avocado or flax oil, and then topping with a lean protein such as chicken or turkey. Yum! Your salad has now become a balanced meal instead of a forgotten afterthought.
Dinner is probably the easiest way to sneak veggies in and the best opportunity to positively impact your family’s health (and yours too!). Take what you do know your family likes and rotate serving these as a side dish. Take other less popular veggies and add them to casserole dishes, pasta sauces, stir fries, taco fixings or pizza toppings. Definitely be creative with this-just add them in whenever you can. The best part is when your family tells you how great everything tastes and doesn’t even notice the added vegetables. As for dessert, you’re on your own, but please share any ideas you come up with!
Now you can see how these small changes can lead to a big impact. Make it your goal to work your way up to 5-8 servings daily. You will be rewarded with the vast array of health benefits that come along with eating an abundant amount of vegetables. Make the decision today to change your eating habits for the better!
*The information on this site is designed for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Thank you!
~by Kimberly Olson