Studies have shown that on average, Canadians are only getting half their daily recommended amount of fruits and veggies. Eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables helps to prevent stroke, Type-2 Diabetes, heart disease and might even aid in preventing certain types of cancers. Not to mention that they contain tons of necessary vitamins and nutrients to support your overall health.
Here are 6 of my favourite easy ways to eat more vegetables every day, for veggie lovers and for those less enthusiastic about them.
1. Boost Your Breakfast
If you’re trying to get more veggies into your diet, why not start your day with them? Green smoothies like this tropical fruit and kale-based one are packed with nutrients to kickstart your morning. I’m also a big fan of smoothie bowls lately. Basically, you pour your smoothie into a bowl and top it with your favourite toppings — I like shredded coconut, chia seeds, and fresh fruit on mine. If you’re not a fan of full-on green smoothies, challenge yourself to make a smoothie every day for a week and and sneak in at least one veggie of your choice in every one. Get tons more smoothie inspiration on the blog!
2. Supplement Your Diet
If you’re especially veggie resistant or really interested in getting more vegetables in, try a green food supplement! These supplements are powders or capsules made from real veggies and other natural nutrients, and can give you as much as 6-8 servings of vegetables. Make sure you check with your doctor before starting a green food supplement regimen if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or on any regular medication.
3. Convenience is Key
One of the biggest reasons we don’t eat as many veggies as we should or would like to is that all that washing and chopping makes it less convenient than we’d like. If you have a busy schedule, convenience is key. My favourite way to work around this is to set some time aside on the weekends to just hang out in my kitchen and wash, chop, and pack my fridge with fresh veggies to snack on for the week. That way, when I’m having a mid-week snack attack after a busy day at work, munching on healthy veggies is just as easy and convenient as snacking on less healthy options. Make sure to have some of your favourite dips on hand to complete your healthy snack.
4. Snack Smarter
I love snacks. I know that I’m never going to NOT be a habitual snacker, so I try to swap my old favourites (like chips) out for healthier options like kale chips. Kale chips are one of my favourite healthy snacks because they’ve got all the savoury crunchiness of regular potato chips, and the benefits of super healthy kale, which I also love (#TeamKale forever). They’re available in tons of traditional chip flavours like Pink Salt, Ranch, and Cheddar, as well as more fun flavours like Spicy Curry Lime and Hemp Cream & Chive. If you’ve been hesitant to jump on the kale train, I urge you to give kale chips a chance. They might just become your new favourite snack!
5. Get Adventurous in the Kitchen
Another big reason that we don’t eat enough vegetables is that we just don’t know what to do with them. We either don’t know how to cook them at all, or we don’t know how to cook them in a way that makes them appetizing to us. The only cure for this is to get adventurous in the kitchen and try new things! Add some less-intimidating veggies like broccoli and bell peppers into your standard stir-fry or stir in a cup of cooked butternut squash into your next mac & cheese meal (Warning: this will make it hard to go back to regular mac & cheese). If you’re a barbecue aficionado, invite some veggies to the party! Peppers, carrots, zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant are all fantastic when barbecued. Glaze them in your favourite barbecue sauce and cook them on the grill. You’ll be glad you did!
6. Make it a Family Affair
If the kidlets in your life are the picky eaters, teach them to love veggies by getting them engaged in the picking and cooking process. Take them to the grocery store or farmers’ market and let them pick a few vegetables that look good to them. They’ll be more open to trying veggies that they had a hand in picking out. Then when you get home, pick out a recipe together and let them help in the kitchen! Food tastes better when we’re more invested in it.
What are your favourite ways to get more veggies into your diet?