Denver - Design District - Alameda and Broadway
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With these 14 tips from our nutrition professionals, incorporating more veggies into your meals is a snap (pea)!
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Eat more vegetables! We all know that eating more vegetables is good for our physical health, but did you know that eating an abundance of veggies can also make you happier? Studies show that eating lots of vegetables make us feel good, increase our happiness and sense of wellbeing, increase our vitality and motivation, and even increase curiosity and creativity.1 2 3
The trouble is, Americans fall woefully short of the government’s two to three recommended servings of vegetables per day. Only nine percent of adults get that amount, and two of the top sources are potatoes, as chips and French fries, and tomatoes, from pizza sauce.4 5 A recent survey of 2,000 American adults reported that 91 percent of respondents said corn was their favorite “vegetable” (corn is a grain, not a vegetable) and one in four respondents said they had never eaten a vegetable at all! But we want to do better: The same survey revealed that 72 percent of the people surveyed wanted to eat more vegetables.6 We’re here to help!
At Natural Grocers™, we’ve long recommended 3-6 cups a day, and many studies support this recommendation to gain optimal health benefits.7 8 If you’re new to eating veggies, don’t let the goal of 3-6 cups a day intimidate you. Start with what you know you like. If you like cucumbers and green beans, great! Eat them. Every day. Then make a commitment to try new vegetables and gradually increase your intake. Because we know dietary changes can be hard, we asked our nutrition professionals for their favorite tips—things they do themselves—to eat more veggies.
Roast a large batch of vegetables to keep in the refrigerator for easy access through the week—try sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, cauliflower, and/or broccoli. Warm or cold, roasted veggies are delicious additions to salads and grain bowls, served with fried or scrambled eggs for a quick breakfast, or eaten as a simple side. (Try our Organic Rainbow Roasted Veggie Bowl recipe on page 41!)
A little prep goes a long way. Choose three or four of your favorite veggies to eat raw (think cucumber, sweet peppers, radishes, carrots), cut them up and divide them among small storage containers that are easy to bring on the go.
Think outside the lettuce box
Aim to eat at least one large salad with a variety of veggie toppings every day. And while we’re talking salads, think outside of the lettuce box: try shredded cabbage topped with mint, cilantro, peppers, and cashews; chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs; or thinly shaved fennel topped with slices of your favorite citrus fruit. There are many ways to eat salad, and it doesn’t always have to include lettuce.
Pizza - Oh Yeah!
Love pizza? Load it up with veggie toppings and after it has baked, add a heaping pile of arugula tossed in lemon juice and olive oil on top. Better yet, substitute your regular pizza crust for a cauliflower one! ferment 'em Keep your fridge stocked with sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables—they make easy, no-prep sides and snacks and are great toppings for sandwiches, wraps, and salads.
Toss a handful or two of baby spinach, frozen cauliflower, or frozen zucchini into your smoothie—once it’s blended, you’ll never know it’s there. Roasted beets are also a fun addition to smoothies, adding a touch of sweetness and vibrant color. Soup's on Soups and stews are excellent places to load up on veggies. Most start with a base of sautéed onion and garlic, and it’s easy to add extra veggies from there; think celery, carrots, potatoes, sweet peppers, green beans, zucchini, and greens like kale or collards.
Sometimes a good sauce or dip is the key. Try buffalo sauce drizzled on roasted cauliflower, marinara dolloped over sautéed zucchini and eggplant, your favorite salad dressings repurposed as a veggie dressing (chopped celery mixed with blue cheese is a favorite), or pesto and hummus for raw-veggie dipping.
“Hide” veggies like chopped spinach, kale, shredded carrots, shredded zucchini, or finely minced mushrooms in meatloaf, taco meat, burgers, or spaghetti sauce.
Serve any type of entrée (chicken, steak, pork, fish, tofu, tempeh) over a big bed of greens lightly dressed with a dressing of your choice.
Keep your pantry and freezer stocked with canned and frozen veggies so you’ll always have a quick and easy option on hand; just heat, season with sea salt and pepper, and add a healthy fat like grass-fed butter or coconut oil.
Swap out your refined carbs for veggies; try zucchini noodles (“zoodles”) and spaghetti squash instead of pasta, and cauliflower “rice” instead of white rice. breakfast time Don’t forget about veggies at breakfast! Try sautéed vegetables with eggs, finely shredded carrot and/or zucchini in pancakes or oatmeal, or even your favorite veggie-loaded lunch or dinner as your first meal of the day.
Explore new recipes. Find a few veggie-centric recipes that you love and keep them on regular rotation.
Eating vegetables every day is not as daunting as it may seem. In fact, once you get in the habit, you may actually crave vegetables (gasp!). Maybe it’s because they make you feel so good. And who among us couldn’t stand to have a little more happiness in their lives?