5 Yummy Ways To Sneak More Veggies Into Your Day
Most Canadians are falling short on veggies--this likely doesn't come as a surprise. Because vegetables are often bitter-tasting, they tend not to be as appealing as fruits, which are naturally sweet. It's believed that the reason babies and toddlers tend to reject vegetables over fruit is because we are biologically programmed to prefer sweet over bitter for survival purposes (bitter taste signals "poison" or "toxic" and sweet signals "energy"). But the truth is, veggies offer a whole host of benefits from helping to protect against chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer, to help with weight control and blood sugar regulation. Veggies are chock-full of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, not to mention fibre and water--both of which can help with appetite control. And believe it or not, veggies can be wonderfully delicious as well!
Here are 5 easy ways to sneak them into your day (you should be aiming for at least 4-5 servings of veggies per day!):
1. Add them to your smoothie:
Throw a big handful (or two!) of fresh spinach or kale into your fruit and yoghurt smoothie-- you won't even notice that it's there!
2. Toss them into your omelette or frittata:
If you're making an omelette or frittata for any meal, make sure to toss in mushrooms, tomato, peppers and any other veggie that you like. These add texture, flavour and colour to your egg dishes. Here's a yummy "Suppertime Frittatta" that you'll love.
3. Grill them on the BBQ:
This is one of my favourite ways to eat vegetables because it's so easy, makes little mess and create such flavourful veggies. Brush peppers, mushrooms, zuchini, eggplant, carrots, etc. with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle some garlic powder (or fresh minced garlic), salt and pepper and make a tray out of tin foil to grill the veggies in. Place the tray on the grill (or if your veggie chunks are big enough, put them right on the grill!), turn occasionally remove once bright in colour and cooked to tender/crisp.
4. Make a meal-worthy salad:
Make your salad meal-worthy by tossing your favourite greens and chopped veggies with cooked and cooled quinoa, corkscrew pasta, orzo or barley, adding canned rinsed chickpeas, beans, lentils or leftover meat or fish. Top with feta cheese, olives, nuts or seeds for flavour and texture and dress with your favourite vinaigrette.
5. Put out a raw veggies tray every night before dinner:
I do this every night and it's always a hit with the whole family (including my preschooler and toddler!). I either wash and cut our favourite veggies (carrots, celery, cucumber, baby tomatoes, peppers) and serve with hummus, or if life gets too busy, I buy a big veggie tray from the grocery store and use it for the entire week. Don't be afraid to use Ranch dip, store-bought hummus or another dip that you like (in moderation of course) to make raw veggies more appealing!
6. Add them to your tomato sauce:
Confession: I usually use jarred tomato sauce for spaghetti. But, I always add extra chopped veggies to boost nutrition. I often just add finely chopped sauteed veggies right into the sauce, but sometimes I go to the extra effort of pureeing the sauteed veggies right into the sauce with an immersion blender (if you prefer a smooth sauce vs. chunky).
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