It can be hard to eat healthy. This article gives us some tips on how to get more veggies in our diets. Please enjoy.
Ways to Sneak More Veggies Into Your Diet
July 24, 2012
Sometimes when asked what I do for a living, my response is:
“I tell people to eat more vegetables.” Of course there is much more
to what I do as a nutritionist… and much more to healthy eating than that… but consuming more
vegetables is one of the most important steps in improving the quality of your
diet. For all the excesses in the current American food culture—too much sodium, saturated fat, and calories, for
example—few people are over consuming veggies. In fact, surveys show that 68
percent of Americans do not meet the minimal guidelines for vegetable
consumption (three servings daily). Only 26 percent of the nation’s adults eat
vegetables three or more times a day and just 23 percent of meals include a
This is despite clear evidence that vegetables can improve our
chances of better health. Studies show that a diet rich in vegetables may
reduce risk for heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancers. Vegetables high in
potassium may lower blood pressure.
Veggies are also one of your best allies in the battle against
“the bulge.” Because they are lower in calories per cup, when you eat
them in place of other higher-calorie foods you can lower your total calorie
intake. Research shows that in addition, their high water and fiber content can help keep you fuller for longer, reducing the likelihood
Given their importance to your overall health, eating more veggies
should be a top priority. Try these tips to ensure you’re getting enough:
1. Start a garden. Over the
years, I have found that one of the best ways to get people excited about
eating vegetables is to have them grow their own. Research studies have
supported my observation: Young or old, gardeners have been found to consume
more veggies than non-gardeners. The simple act of gardening connects us to the
earth, the soil, and the food we eat. Few can resist nature’s bounty when it’s
springing up right in your own yard. Plus there is nothing like the taste and
freshness of veggies straight from the garden.
Don’t have space for a garden? Many local urban centers have
thriving community gardens. Find one in your area and ask to volunteer.
2. Veggies for breakfast . For
breakfast? You bet! Your morning meal is the perfect place to get a jumpstart
on your daily veggie servings. Stuff an omelet with broccoli, spinach, peppers, asparagus, or any other vegetable
that suits your taste buds.
Short on time? Scramble your eggs with a half-cup of salsa. Roll
it into a whole-grain tortilla and take it with you as you fly out the door.
3. Soups. Add more
flavor and nutrition to your favorite soups with veggies. Many homemade soups
already contain a nice amount of vegetables, but you can bump up the veggie
servings in canned soups too. I love adding carrots to chicken noodle soup, and
edamame or green beans to minestrone. Just add the raw or frozen vegetables
while you are cooking or heating the soup. And don’t forget that leafy greens
such as kale, Swiss chard, and spinach make great additions too.
4. Don’t forget frozen. If your
response to the idea of “starting a garden” was laughter, this tip is
for you. You don’t have to become Farmer of the Year to get more veggies in your diet. If time is tight or if
convenience is an issue, don’t overlook frozen vegetables. I love them because
I can store them in my freezer and don’t have to worry about multiple trips to
the grocery store on a weekly basis. This way I always have veggies in the
house to cook.
Concerned that frozen veggies aren’t as nutritious as fresh? According to the International Food
Information Council, frozen produce is virtually identical in terms of
nutrition to fresh produce. Vegetables chosen for freezing tend to be processed
at their peak ripeness, a time when—as a general rule—they are most
nutrient-packed. The “flash-freezing” process tends to leave them in
a nutrient-rich state. Fresh produce loses vital nutrients and vitamins as soon
as it’s harvested, and it can then take nearly two weeks to arrive on
supermarket shelves. So by the time you buy it and eat it, the nutrient value
of your vegetables may be diminished.
5. Move your veggies to the
top shelf of the refrigerator. You’ve heard of “out
of sight, out of mind” right? Try doing the opposite. As long as they are
bagged properly, veggies will last as well as if in a vegetable crisper. Keep
fast-to-eat vegetables like baby carrots, precut red and green pepper strips,
broccoli florets, tomatoes, and cucumbers as accessible as possible so you can
quickly grab them for snacking and meal prep.
Hungry for more? Write to
firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions, concerns, and feedback.
Katherine Brooking, MS, RD,
is a registered dietitian
with a master’s degree in nutrition education from Columbia University. She is
a frequent nutrition contributor to top-tier national morning shows including
the Today show, Live with Regis and Kelly, The Early Show on CBS, Good Morning
America Health, as well as dozens of local affiliate stations across the