Eat More Veggies!
Updated: Jun 13, 2018
According to a recent report by the CDC only 1 in 10 people are eating enough vegetables. Here are some tips to help you incorporate more veggies into your diet during breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Vegetables are high in fiber, which helps lower the risk of chronic illnesses like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. They also are high in anti-oxidants that protect our cells from cancer and aging. One study found that people who ate seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables were 42% less likely to die from any cause over the next eight years compared to those who ate less than one serving a day.
The cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, turnips, mustard greens, brussel sprouts, and cabbage) are particularly beneficial. They have phytonutrients that encourage detoxification and regulate hormones, plus they are high in sulfur containing compounds that have been shown to fight cancer.
One of my most common patient recommendations is to increase vegetable intake. Most people are eating only 1.5 cups per day and the CDC recommends a minimum of 3 servings per day. Typically I recommend that people enjoy 7-9 cups of veggies per day.
You should strive for:
2-3 cups greens,
2-3 cups bright colored veggies, and
2-3 cups of brassica family veggies each day!
Eating this many vegetables can be challenging, especially if you’re used to only getting a single serving with dinner. Here are some tips to help you up your veggie intake:
Have a smoothie and throw in a handful of greens
Pair an oatmeal supplement with a green drink (one of my faves is ½ a cucumber, a handful of kale or other greens, handful of mint, lime juice and coconut water)
If you eat eggs: make a veggie scramble, veggie frittatas or eat a small side salad with your egg dish. Eat pickled veggies or sauerkraut with your eggs.
If you’re eating out, order a side salad in addition to whatever else you plan to eat. Even if it’s a burger and fries, get a salad too. Not feeling the salad? Another option is to order a vegetable side dish.
If you’re at home, throw veggies on whatever you’re eating. Ordered pizza? Throw some arugula on top. Preparing a Chinese dish? Mix in some broccoli. Heating a frozen burrito? Stuff some frozen veggies in it.
Roast veggies on Sunday. Cut up and roast a big batch of veggies including: sweet potato, brussel sprouts, squash, broccoli, onion, etc. Roasted veggies keep really well and you can bring them with you to eat as a side dish with just about anything. Or throw an egg on some roasted veggies for a hearty breakfast.
Cut up salad stuff on Sunday and grill a couple of chicken breasts. Each evening or morning you can easily prep delicious salads with all your favorite veggies and a few slices of chicken breast to bring with you to work. Keep a bottle of healthy salad dressing at work. Bonus tip: I keep fresh sauerkraut and olive oil at work and mix them together to create a salad dressing that is also rich in probiotics.
Plan on eating a side salad and a veggie side to double up on your dose of nutrients. Hint: buy a big bag of prewashed salad mix and throw a handful on the side of every plate.
Keep some pre-cut garlic or ginger around so you can quickly sauté some delicious tasting veggies.
Prepare large portions of your veggie side so you can eat some for lunch the next day too.
If you are feeling uninspired I recommend trying one of the meal boxes. My personal favorite is Green Chef because the ingredients are organic. There are several others like Blue Apron, Sun Basket, Hello Fresh, etc.
You don’t have to get them every week, but if you’re having trouble getting to the store or you don’t know what to cook they can be very helpful. These pre-planned meals make it easy to prepare unique foods and learn new ways to cook them. Save the recipe cards for the meals or veggies you love so you can put them in regular rotation. Depending on the sizeof your family, you could even have lunch or dinner for the next day!
Bring a greens powder and veggie bullet with you so you can start the day with something green
Stop by the supermarket when you first get to town and get a few things for the room that don’t need cooking such as hummus and carrots/celery/snap peas, radishes, pre-made salads, berries and nut milk to make smoothies, a bag of fresh cherries, trail mix with dried blueberries, cranberries or cherries (Trader Joes has a good one called Nuts about Anti-oxidants)
Remember to order a veggie or salad side dish whenever you eat out.
No matter where you go, or which meal you're eating, get in the habit of eating more vegetables and reap the benefits!
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