Put a dozen health experts in one room and we’ll agree about very little, but one thing I’m certain almost everyone concurs: We need to eat more vegetables. File this under the “no kidding” category: Studies find we over-consume salty and high-sugar impact snacks, but don’t eat enough fruit or vegetables.
Vegetables encompasses a huge category, so let me be clear. I’m talking about non-starchy vegetables like broccoli and spinach, which come loaded with fiber, nutrients and antioxidants with very few sugar or calories.
Aim for five to 10 or more servings of non-starchy veggies daily. That works out to be two or more servings at every meal, using a half cup cooked or one cup raw as one serving. If that sounds like a herculean challenge — and it can be, even for the most determined health devotee — I’ve devised these five strategies to effortlessly increase your veggie intake.
1. Sneak them in your breakfast shake.
A cup of organic kale or any leafy green seriously spikes your protein shake’s nutrient quota and trust me, you won’t taste them blended with other ingredients like unsweetened coconut milk, frozen raspberries and even raw cacao nibs or a tablespoon of almond butter.
2. Have salad for dinner.
Throw precooked wild salmon or maybe some free-range grilled chicken breast atop organic leafy greens, add some salsa or sliced avocado and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar for a veggie-loaded meal in less time than it takes to download a takeout menu.
3. Juice smartly.
Juicing becomes your chance to get tons of low-sugar impact veggies, with two caveats. Commercial juices often contain fruit and other taste enhancers that seriously spike their sugar. Juicing also strips fiber, so make sure you’re getting that fiber elsewhere. The best juices are pure green with a little lemon or ginger.
4. Double up.
Why do veggies at restaurants taste so much better? Take advantage of the deliciousness factor by swapping your potato or rice for another veggie. Instant upgrade without the starch’s higher sugar impact.
5. Eat veggies as a crunchy appetizer.
Instead of high-sugar impact chips and salsa, arrange crunchy veggies like broccoli and asparagus around a bowl of hummus. Kale chips with guacamole makes another crunch-heavy, low-sugar impact alternative to movie night popcorn.
Especially on travel or super-hectic days, I find these strategies help more easily meet my veggie quota. Let’s face it: It can become a challenge for even the most diligent folks, so what one tip would you add to this list to get your veggies on?
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