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When it comes to cooking food, most people don’t get particularly excited about preparing vegetables. However, the food group needs to be a large part of our diet, and many people don’t seem to get enough.
No one wants to chomp down on bland steamed broccoli or boring old iceberg lettuce, so it’s important to know how you can incorporate more vegetables into your diet without feeling like you’re forcing them down.
“We all know fruits and vegetables are important for us, but Americans fall unhealthily below the serving recommendations,” says Rene Ficek, RD and Lead Nutrition Expert at Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating.
“In fact, most Americans are lucky to get two servings of vegetables a day, when we should be eating five to seven helpings a day. If we ate more vegetables and fewer processed foods, we’d lose weight, clean our arteries, balance our blood sugar, and have much more energy.”
If you’re looking for some creative ways to eat healthier, try using these six sneaky ways to incorporate more vegetables into your diet.
1. Cover Them Up
“One of the easiest ways to get broccoli and cauliflower in the diet is to cover it up with tasty cheese,” says Ficek. “Just be sure you’re making a healthy cheese sauce. Traditional cheese sauces are made with lots of butter and cream, but making a lightened up version that uses flour to thicken low-fat milk and a small amount of full-flavored sharp cheddar can be a great alternative.”
2. Make A Scramble
“ Make egg scrambles a regular breakfast, using a scrambled egg to hold together sautéed vegetables such as peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, asparagus, or onions,” says Ficek.
3. Add Them To Smoothies
Toss some vegetables into your morning smoothie for extra nutrients without changing the taste. “If you are concerned by the taste, berries will mask any vegetable,” says certified nutrition specialist Dr. Scott Schreiber.
“In addition, you can throw things like beet tops and the stems of other foods that would not normally be eaten. These can provide an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.”
4. Make A Soup
“The best way to incorporate vegetables into your diet is to make vegetable soups,” says Laurie Endicott Thomas, author of Thin Diabetes, Fat Diabetes: Prevent Type 1 and Cure Type 2. “I make a big pot of soup that can last for two or three days. You can freeze the leftovers or eat them for lunch.”
5. Use Veggies For Noodles
Instead of eating your run-of-the-mill wheat pasta, replace it with some vegetables instead. Invest in a spiralizer, and have fun playing with your food for a noodle dish that’s filled with nutrients and flavor. Use foods such as zucchini, sweet potato, or spaghetti squash to make into lightened-up pasta dishes.
6. Blend Them Into Sauces
Blend cooked veggies into creamy sauces,” says certified nutritionist and chef Ariane Resnick. “I use braised root veggies as a base for cream sauces, removing the need for much of the dairy and any of the thickeners.”
Add mushrooms to bolognese, carrots to marinara, or greens to pesto to increase your intake of vegetables.
Photo by jules:stonesoup