April 25, 2014

Veggies Morning, Noon, and Night

Veggie PocketsWhat’s one thing you can do to improve your diet and overall health? Increase the amount of vegetables you’re eating. This one change will increase the amount of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water you have in your diet. Increasing vegetables also means that you will likely decrease your intake of other not-so-good food choices. Its a win-win situation, but perhaps easier said than done. After all, vegetables for breakfast? Outside of a veggie omelet, this might sound strange, but I assure you that vegetables have a place in every meal. I’ve included some of my favorite ways to sneak in extra veggies throughout the day.

Canned Pumpkin (Pure-not pie filling)

This classic November staple is actually available year round. Although it might not be conveniently placed in the front of your supermarket, it is worth seeking out canned pumpkin. Just 1/2 cup canned pumpkin has 3 grams of fiber and 300% your daily Vitamin A, all for only 40 calories. I add canned pumpkin to oatmeal, along with cinnamon and nutmeg for a sweet treat. The pumpkin increases the volume of my breakfast and provides a big nutritional boost. Canned pumpkin is also great mixed into plain yogurt, pancake batters, risottos, or as a toast topping.

The Box Grater

No longer just for cheese! A box grater is a great way to sneak in vegetables. I grate zucchini, carrots, peppers into everything! Rice dishes, pastas, soups, quick breads, meatloaf, and Bolognese sauce work particularly well. This technique bulks up your food and decreases fat and calories per serving.  Added fiber and nutrients are an added bonus. Another plus? Thin strands of grated vegetables are barely noticeable, making them a perfect veggie addition for even the pickiest of family members.

Fresh Salsa

Fresh salsa is a vegetable. Think about it. Its made of diced tomatoes, peppers, onions, and spices. It adds a kick of flavor to everything with minimal calories and a hefty dose of vitamin C. Just watch the sodium content! Homemade salsas are the best, but you can find no-salt added fresh and  jarred salsas that work well too. Add salsa to scrambled eggs, green salads, or tuna salad. Mixing salsa with plain Greek yogurt makes for a great veggie dip too. Veggies dipped into veggies. Could it get any better?

This, conveniently, just happens to be the opportune time to  include more vegetables into your day. As the weather starts to warm up, vegetables will be abundant and bursting with fresh flavor. There is nothing like fresh spring asparagus or peas. Let’s start by making it a goal to add just one extra serving of vegetables each day and work up from there. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy your new vegetable journey and join us for the Great Veggie Challenge!

 Tell us: What are your favorite ways to enjoy vegetables?

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  2. Elizabeth P says:

    Love this post! Veggies for breakfast sounds strange at first, but once I started eating smashed avocado on toast with a little salt and pepper, my whole life has changed! Okay fine, that might be a slight over exaggeration, but I definitely have a new appreciation for veggies during breakfast. I also love to add veggie cream cheese to toasted whole wheat english muffins and top with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, or even broccoli :)

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