The Crusader Newspaper Group

Clever ways to sneak in vegetables

It all started when you were young. Your parents forcing you to take one more bite of vegetables before excusing you from dinner. Now as an adult, your doctors are constantly reminding you of the importance of eating a proper number of vegetables each day – at least 3 servings.

But the truth is that it can be hard to get the vegetable servings you need every day. Especially when processed food is widely available, inexpensive and easy to prepare.

So how can you sneak more vegetables into your diet?

Lisa Dempsey, registered dietitian at Advocate Medical Group in Downers Grove, Ill., provides the following tips for making vegetables more appealing and easier to fit into your daily routine.

  • Make a big salad using leafy greens. As a shortcut, try using bagged lettuce.
  • Enjoy the convenience of raw veggies. Cut up the vegetables and store them in a container in your fridge to have readily available to snack on.
  • Keep pre-cut veggies from the grocery store on hand. Some vegetables are already easy to snack on such as baby carrots.
  • Incorporate vegetables into your favorite meals. Soups and stir fry dishes are easy places to add countless variations of vegetables.
  • Replace some starches with vegetables. Cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles and cauliflower “mashed potatoes” are good places to start.
  • Try something new. Make your vegetable eating experience exciting by branching out and trying new produce options.
Dempsey also says that eating your veggies comes with the following health benefits:
  • High in fiber. “Fiber helps promote regular bowel movements,” says Dempsey.
  • Weight control. “Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories, making them good alternatives to higher calorie food options. Watch out for added sauces and seasonings which can add fat and calories to your vegetables,” she cautions.
  • Reduces risk for chronic health conditions. “Eating vegetables can reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease including heart attack, stroke and certain types of cancers,” she says. “A diet rich in vegetables can also support a healthy blood pressure.”

Are you trying to watch your weight? Take a free online quiz to learn more about your healthy weight range.

This article originally appeared on health enews.

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