Most of us don’t get enough vegetables. Here are more than 16 easy ways to eat more veggies. NEARLY 90% OF AMERICANS fall below fruit and vegetable consumption recommendations. Yet eating vegetables is essential to get the nutrients our bodies require to feel energized, function properly and fight disease. Including an abundance of vegetables in our diets can prove challenging, especially if you didn’t grow up eating them regularly or you feel overwhelmed at the idea of chopping, peeling and otherwise prepping them on a busy weeknight.
However, with a little strategy, vegetables can be an enjoyable and easy addition to any meal. Vegetables are a main part of the USDA Dietary Guidelines and a foundation of the Mediterranean diet.
At food and nutrition education nonprofit Oldways, where I am the Director of Nutrition, we receive so many questions about how to use and eat more vegetables, we wrote a book about it. We also offer a Mediterranean Diet Pyramid as a visual guide and source of inspiration for eating more vegetables.
We know from years of experience that eating more vegetables doesn’t require that you eat salads every day, or that you need to eat foods that don’t taste good to you.
Try these simple tips to get more vegetables into your diet:
Start with Small Steps
If you don’t currently eat many vegetables, start today by adding them to meals you already eat. For example:
1. Ordering a pizza? Choose a topping like eggplant, peppers, broccoli or artichoke hearts.
2. Making a can of soup? Mix in a handful of spinach.
3. Need a snack? Buy a bag of mini carrots and dip them in hummus, salsa or guacamole.
Experiment with ways to include at least one vegetable in every meal:
1. For breakfast, that might be mashing a sweet potato into porridge or adding peppers and onions to a scrambled egg.
2. For lunch, add thin slices of vegetables to a sandwich like tomato, onion, cucumber or grilled zucchini.
3. For dinner, buy a bag of frozen riced cauliflower and substitute it for rice or mix it into rice.