Whether you’re following a gluten-free meal plan, a strict vegetarian or vegan, or you’re a fan of the primal or paleo diet, I think we can all agree on these three words: vegetables are awesome. They’re so awesome, in fact, that they have their own day – Wednesday, June 17, is Eat Your Vegetables Day.
I like the fact that vegetables do an effortless job of keeping it real. They don’t need flashy packaging, or in-your-face claims. They just are what they are and they’re fantastic for your waistline and overall health. But, despite all of their awesomeness, only 27 percent of Americans eat the recommended servings of vegetables. And, even if you eat vegetables regularly, it’s easy to get stuck in a routine with buying the same veggies, or preparing them the same way week after week. In honor of Eat Your Vegetables Day, try these tips to keep your veggie habits fresh:
- Miscellaneous Medley—Prepare your vegetables in a different way. I’m not a huge fan of raw broccoli or cauliflower, but I love tossing them in a food processor or sautéing and adding them to brown rice as a way to bulk up a stir-fry without adding hundreds of extra calories. If you’re used to preparing veggies a certain way, try something different like grilling, roasting, or chopping and adding to your favorite pasta or rice dish.
- Out With the Old, In With the New—If your grocery cart includes the same old, same old, scan the produce aisle or farmer’s market for something different. You may find broccolini (a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli), kalettes (a hybrid of Brussels sprouts and kale), purple asparagus, and other unique eats.
- Mix ‘n’ Match—Skip the usual bread or tortilla wrap for a sandwich and use a vegetable instead. You can wrap a sandwich in a romaine lettuce leaf, use grilled eggplant slices in place of a bun for your next burger, or cut lengthwise and hollow out a cucumber and fill it with chicken or tuna salad. One of my co-worker’s “go-to” lunch involves removing the pit from an avocado and filling the two halves with chicken salad. Okay, avocado is actually a fruit, but you get the idea.
Don’t get stuck in a veggie rut. Try these tips, or come up with your own favorites to keep your meal plan fresh, fun and fearless!
Something else to check out: Don’t miss Spinach-Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothie