10 Ways to Sneak in More Vegetables
Make half of your plate vegetables. Aim for 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. We know vegetables are good for us. They give us fiber, vitamins, minerals, and plenty of other plant compounds that impact our health in amazing ways. However, vegetables are often an after-thought when it comes to meal planning. Here are 10 easy ways to incorporate more vegetables into your meals:
Leafy greens, like baby spinach and kale, are easy to blend into smoothies with little impact on taste. They make your smoothie a nice, pretty, green color or, if blended with berries, a fascinating brown. We also love smoothies and juices that are high in iron to help promote a health heart. Start with a small handful and build on from there.
2. Soup and Chili
There are no right or wrong ways to add vegetables to soup. Sauté onions, peppers, carrots, or celery in the early stages, or add a bag of frozen vegetables to defrost as the end nears. Greens like spinach and kale also wilt quickly when added to a hot pot in the later stages.
3. Riced Vegetables
Riced cauliflower is a staple in almost all low-carb recipes right now. Even if you are not cutting carbs, riced vegetables can be easily mixed into regular rice, used as a base for any sauce, curry, casserole, and stew, or mixed in with ground beef or turkey. You can find frozen, steam-in-bag riced cauliflower in the frozen section at your grocery store.
4. Baked Goods
Make a batch of zucchini bread or muffins, or try these Power Green Muffins made with spinach.
Like soup and chili, it is easy to sneak extra vegetables into casseroles. Try substituting part of the starch or meat with diced peppers, onions, or zucchini. No recipe adaptations are needed.
Finely dice onions, mushrooms, or peppers (or use a food processor) to combine into meatloaf or meatballs. Start with substituting one-quarter of the meat in your recipe with vegetables, and then experiment with other variations. Keep oven temperature and cooking time the same.
7. Spaghetti Sauce
Tomatoes, peppers, onions, zucchini, and eggplant all go well with Italian flavors. Like soup, these can be sautéed in the early stages or mixed in near the end. Grated carrots will add a touch of sweetness to your sauce without any added sugar.
If you have any leftover fresh vegetables, scramble them up into a frittata or omelet. This is a good use for diced vegetables that would otherwise be thrown out, or salad greens that are almost on their way out.
9. Zucchini Noodles
Combine zucchini noodles with regular noodles to get the best of both and add in a little extra fiber and vitamins.
10. Puree into Sauces
Using a blender or food processor, puree vegetables to mix into tomato or cream-based sauces. Try mixing pureed cauliflower into alfredo sauce or pureed carrots into tomato sauce.