We all know that eating more vegetables is one of the most consistent eating habits supporting better heart health, yet how many of us do it? I certainly don’t get the suggested half-plateful at every meal.
So for summer fun, I thought I’d brainstorm a list of ways to get more vegetables. I got a little carried away! So here you have it, 70 ways to get more vegetables in your life. Happy eating…
Boost the flavour.
- Try dipping raw ones in hummus,
- or ranch dressing (yes really, it’s mostly healthy fat, and if it helps you enjoy more veggies, I call it a win),
- or drizzling with vinaigrette (on cooked vegetables as well as salads),
- or whipping up a tahini, almond, or peanut dressing (like this one I love),
- or pan-frying in flavoured olive oil,
- or butter (yes olive oil is healthier, but a little won’t make much difference)
- or sprinkling with soy sauce (reduced-sodium ideally),
- or cooking with garlic,
- or ginger,
- or tossing with chopped nuts or seeds,
- or busting out the herbs (fresh or dried),
- or spices,
- or salt (yes really, a little goes a long way and again, if it gets you more veggies, go for it),
- or flavourful cheese (parmesan, asiago, goat… it doesn’t take much).
Use them for flavour.
- Add marinated artichoke hearts to pasta (yes, sodium, but again, veggies > sodium).
- Roast or pan-fry mushrooms for a shot of umami (savoury deliciousness).
- Like that umami? You’ll also find it in ripe tomatoes. More in cherry tomatoes. The most in dried. Sun-dried or slowly oven-roasted tomatoes… does it get any better?
- Try kimchi, sauerkraut, and other fermented vegetables for tangy, savoury flavour plus friendly bacteria to boot.
Cook them with love.
- Boiling or steaming? Don’t overdo it! Soggy army-green asparagus is a nightmare. Aim for bright green, crisp tender.
- Or roast them to bring out the natural sweetness.
- Or grill them. Be still my heart.
- While you’re at it, roast or grill extras for snacks or for tucking into other meals. Slices of roasted eggplant disappear around here like cookies. (Okay maybe not exactly like cookies, but we like them.)
Elevate your salads.
- Get outside the (lettuce) box: Try different greens (arugula, baby kale, or ribbons of swiss chard),
- or skip the greens altogether!
- Try chopped veggies with black beans,
- or chickpeas,
- or cooked grains (farro, barley, wheat berries, rice),
- or fruit (chopped apples or pears, sliced strawberries),
- or cheese,
- or pecans, walnuts, or sunflower seeds,
- or meat, fish, or chicken,
- or all of the above!
Add veggies to everything!
- To lasagna,
- or eggs (scrambled, frittata, omelette),
- or soup (of course),
- or sandwiches (go beyond lettuce and tomato… bust out those roasted peppers, grate carrots).
- Load up your pasta,
- or tuck them into a burrito, quesadilla, taco, or basically anything in a tortilla,
- or chop them for chili (try peppers or zucchini).
Swap out some starch.
- Spiralize! Try zucchini noodles with (or instead of) spaghetti,
- lettuce leaves in place of tortillas or bread.
- or mashed carrots or cauliflower.
- Speaking of which, have you tried cauliflower rice?
- Or always a pleasant surprise, spaghetti squash! With a rich tomato sauce and cooked mushrooms? Sensational.
Take advantage of time savers.
- Pre-washed spinach and other leafy greens may be worth the extra cost, if they get eaten instead of composted.
- Same thing for pre-cut raw vegetables.
- For a lower-cost option, get handy with frozen vegetables,
- and canned too (again, benefit of veggies > risk from sodium, which you can more effectively lower by eating less restaurant and highly processed food).
- Your food processor (if you have one), can grate, slice, or puree in no time.
Develop veggie-friendly habits.
- Pre-wash and cut them when you have energy and before you’re hungry,
- store at eye level, in clear containers,
- and buy large packages (if you’re sure they won’t go to waste).
- Get enough sleep! (Gives you energy to prepare them.)
- Eat every few hours, before you’re ravenous (at that point, a salad won’t cut it).
Plan for them.
- Build veggies into your meal plan. Don’t buy what you don’t have a plan for.
- Plan 1-2 veggie catchall meals near the end of the week to use up the extras, like a stir-fry,
- or pasta,
- or wraps,
- or pizza,
- or a big salad.
- If you shop only once a week, have fresh veggies delivered mid-week (try Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) or in Canada, spud.ca, or Save On Foods). (Those suggestions aren’t sponsored. Just trying to be helpful. I never do sponsored posts.)
What did I miss? Chime in with your favourite veggie-boosting habits on Facebook.