(Even if you grew up on canned peas and iceberg lettuce)
We’ve known for a long time that vegetables are good for us, but we’ve never had so much variety before. When I was young, we never ate broccoli, we only had iceberg lettuce (except for the yummy green lettuce we grew in the garden), and tomatoes were a tasteless pink. The quality and the cost of fresh vegetables was horrific, so often canned vegetables were all we had. It is actually quite amazing that I have become the veggie lover I am today.
If you are going through menopause now, you can probably relate to what I’m saying. When we were growing up vegetables were a second thought. They were something you were told you had to eat. It didn’t help that we were told by nutritionists of the time that fruits and vegetables were equivalent and that a glass of orange juice counted as much as a serving of broccoli.
We now know that vegetables are nutrition power houses. They contain vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and even protein. They are a wonderful food for weight loss because they are so nutrient dense and low in calories and sugar. But many of us still limit our vegetable intake to a single serving at dinner. The best way to add more vegetables is to change your mindset about meals. Consider vegetables to be the main attraction and not an after thought. Here are some awesome ideas for easily adding vegetables to your diet.
Eat raw veggies and hummus instead of crackers and cheese or chips and dip
I love eating snap peas. They are as easy to eat as chips and have a delicious crunch. Not at all like mushy, slimy canned peas. In the summer I devote a row in my garden to growing these fresh. Sliced bell peppers are also easy, requiring only washing and slicing. You can buy bags of pre-washed and cut carrots or cut your own. Hummus is easy to make (recipe here) or you can usually find it in the deli section of the supermarket.
Drink green smoothies instead of fruit juice
Fruit juice despite its healthy reputation is not the best thing for you. If it is a drink, beverage or cocktail, then it likely contains added sugar. Even 100% juice is not very good for you. All of the fibre is removed and you are left with a high calorie, high sugar (even too much natural sugar is bad for you). A green smoothie on the other hand can be made with whole fruit and vegetables. You can turn it into a meal with added healthy fats such as avocado or added protein like yogurt or protein powder.
Try a scramble for breakfast
If you love eggs for breakfast, then add some bell peppers, onions, or even spinach to your scrambled eggs (see recipe). Bell peppers are tasty and full of vitamins and spinach is also high in vitamins and minerals.
Have a salad for lunch or dinner
I remember when a salad consisted of some pale iceberg lettuce, a few tasteless tomato chunks, and some cucumber. If you were lucky there might be some green onion and celery thrown in. Totally uninspiring and certainly not filling or nutritious enough to be considered a meal. Now you can purchase or grow many different kinds of greens. Boxed, prewashed salad mixes are particularly convenient. I use a boxed spring mix or kale and spinach mix in delicious salads like this one for lunch. For dinner I’ll often top a mixed green salad with grilled chicken.
Have a vegetable soup
Soups are an easy way to eat vegetables, but homemade are the best. I love creamy vegetable soups like my creamy green soup or carrot squash soup. If you don’t have time to make it, then toss some chopped spinach into a canned soup right before serving for some extra vegetables.
Even if you grew up without eating vegetables, it is easy to add vegetables to your diet. By using some of these ideas you can make vegetables the main attraction and not an afterthought.
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