Vegetables are not everyone’s favorite thing to eat, but the vitamins, minerals and fiber in vegetables and fruits are essential for health. According the USDA, individuals between the ages of 19-30 years old are recommended 2.5-3 cups of vegetables per day… that is not even counting fruit. It can be difficult to eat that much in just one day! Check out some tips below; eating the recommended amount can become easier, and tastier too, with a little practice.
- Include vegetables in your pasta sauce
Be sure to take advantage of fresh and frozen veggies when making your pasta sauce. You’re looking for 50% of the food on your plate being veggies!! Add some mushrooms, zucchini, and broccoli into your tomato sauce before mixing in your pasta. For a rich vegetable flavor, use an immersion blender to partially puree the vegetable pieces in the sauce. Try blending some cauliflower into the cheese sauce of your mac and cheese; you’ll be packing on the vitamins and minerals while giving the sauce a bright flavor.
- Kale and spinach blended into your smoothies
This one isn’t groundbreaking; if the flavor of greens isn’t your favorite, try mixing kale or spinach (or both) with tropical fruits such as pineapple, mango and citrus fruits. The powerful flavors of tropical fruits hide the flavors of these leafy greens. It’s a great way to add vitamin K and a serving of vegetables to your smoothies without a trace!
- Add zucchini to your baking
This one’s a little bit of a cheat, but adding the zucchini makes it healthy, right? This is for my sweet tooth friends, adding zucchini actually adds moisture to baked products and provides potassium and vitamin C. So bring on the carrot cake and zucchini muffins when you feel like baking.
- Roast up several pounds of veggies once a week
Now you‘ve got ready to eat, cooked veggies at your command. For the seasons, try:
- Summer: zucchini and yellow squash, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, green beans
- Winter: Acorn, butternut or delicata squash, carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips, onions and cabbage
- Spring: Asparagus and cabbage along with your root veggies cellared from winter.
Add these to casseroles, salads, and eat with meat meals as you go through the week.
Here is a great resource for roasting veggies.