When you're enjoying a healthy diet, we all know how important it is to eat plenty of vegetables each day, but sometimes it's easier said than done! It's hard to get enough veggies when you want to eat healthy and lose weight, especially when your idea of vegetables consists of iceberg lettuce and canned green beans.
To make sure you're getting nutrition, meeting how much fiber per day you need, and still enjoying meals that are appealing and filling, you can try to make small changes to improve your health. These eight ways to get more vegetables in your diet are a great start!
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Easy Ways to Get More Vegetables into Your Diet
Eat Vegetables First
There are two reasons to eat vegetables first. One, they are low in calories, which means you can eat lots of them without worrying about filling up on a small amount of food. Two, eating vegetables first is an easy way to help control your appetite and still enjoy a big meal. Just fill up on veggies at lunch or dinner, for example, and don't worry about counting calories for other foods. It will keep you from overdoing it later in the day when willpower is lowest.
Add Veggies to Your Pasta
Most Americans eat far too much pasta. But if you like it, adding extra vegetables—especially leafy greens such as broccoli, spinach, or mushrooms—will add a lot of nutrients without making your stomach groan. Spinach is an especially great addition because it contains both lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that help prevent age-related macular degeneration.
Use Broth Instead of Water
When you're making soups, stews, and braises, don't just use water—use broth. Not only does it add flavor and depth of flavor that plain water can't provide, but it also adds extra vitamins and minerals from whichever meats or vegetables were used to make it.
Add Greens to Smoothies
Adding greens to your smoothies is a great way to get more vegetables into your diet—and it's super simple. Whether you choose kale, spinach, or one of our other leafy green favorites, adding a cup or two of greens per smoothie batch will make your drink taste delicious and help ensure you're consuming enough vegetables each day. It's worth trying!
Sneak Veggies Into Sandwiches, Soups, and Salads
On top of being delicious, sandwiches, soups, and salads are an excellent way to get more vegetables into your diet. Opt for whole wheat bread and rolls instead of white; load up on grilled veggies instead of deli meat, and make sure you keep a variety of tasty dressings in your fridge.
Snack on Fruit, Nuts, and Seeds with Veggies Inside
Slice up cucumbers and carrots and stuff them with a nut-seed mixture (almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds). Cut apples in half and scoop out a shallow well. Fill it with peanut butter, chopped nuts, or dried fruit. Slice open bell peppers and fill them with low-fat cheese spread or cottage cheese blended with chia seeds or flaxseeds.
Trade Out One Meal Per Day
One of the easiest ways to start getting more vegetables in your diet is by simply eating one less meat meal per day. You don't have to go vegetarian or vegan; a simple swap can make a big difference over time. For example, if you eat pork chop and mashed potatoes for dinner tonight, plan on having turkey sausage and sweet potato hash tomorrow night. It doesn't get much easier than that!
What’s your favorite health tip to ensure you get your daily serving of vegetables? Leave a comment!
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"Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God."
Hebrews 13:16 (ESV)