Before buying into a new diet plan, validate its claims.
Were you one of those kids who refused to eat your vegetables at dinner but mom wouldn’t let you leave the table until you did? She knew what was best for you and was trying to teach you to eat healthy foods. Maybe you’re a parent today and have kids who don’t like their veggies or perhaps you still hate green foods.
Whether you like or dislike vegetables, they are some of, if not the healthiest foods in the world. If you need convincing, here are a few health benefits of vegetables: they reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. They even help lower blood pressure and keep bones strong. On top of that, veggies contain little to no fat, calories, or cholesterol and are high in essential vitamins and minerals and fiber.
If veggies aren’t your favorite foods but you know you and your family need to increase your intake, here are a few helpful tips to sneak veggies in other dishes or prepare them in pleasing ways.
Veggies for Breakfast?
You don’t usually associate vegetables with breakfast foods, but it’s simple to add chopped veggies to an omelet. Chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, onions, or peppers are simple ingredients to add to your eggs so your breakfast is the healthiest yet.
Add to Favorite Dishes
What does your family like to eat for dinner? An easy way to consume more veggies is to include them in the foods you already enjoy. Make an extra layer of veggies in your lasagna, stir chopped veggies into your favorite soup, add some green stuff to your casserole, or pile veggies on your sandwich or pizza.
Chances are pretty good that if you’re eating soup, casserole, and pasta, the recipes already include some kind of vegetable. Get an extra serving of veggies by doubling the amount the recipe calls for.
For those who dislike the texture of certain vegetables or for kids who won’t eat veggies plain, try this creative trick: grate or puree vegetables and hide them in other foods. Grated carrots or zucchini works well in meatballs, burgers, or meatloaf. Pureed cooked squash, peppers, and cauliflower are easily hidden in sauces, mac and cheese, or mashed potatoes.
Eat Them Sweet
Traditionally, vegetables aren’t known as sweet foods, but they taste delicious in baked goods. With all the yummy options—pumpkin pie, zucchini bread, carrot cake, or corn muffins, your kids will be begging for more.
Drink Your Veggies
Get creative in the kitchen with your blender or juicer. Carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and canned pumpkin are a few options. Find a recipe online that sounds good and give it a try.
While all your vegetable servings shouldn’t come from juice (you miss out on fiber), a serving or two a day is a great way to fill up on the nutrients vegetables offer. Carrot juice, tomato juice, or a veggie-fruit combination can be a refreshing way to get your recommended daily amount of vegetables.
Dips, Sauces, and Spices
Grab a handful of raw, cooked, or grilled veggies and make them more palatable with these ideas. Dip raw veggies in a ranch or onion dip, whether homemade or store-bought. Sauté your veggies in olive oil; glaze them with honey; or sprinkle on some salt, lemon pepper, or shredded Parmesan cheese. Broccoli and cauliflower are two veggies made even more delicious with a low-fat cheese sauce drizzled on top.