Veggies really are worth celebrating.
So why do we still struggle with eating our veggies? During National Nutrition Month, I’d like to show some love for one of the most nutritious food groups. Here are a few tips and flavorful recipes to help you learn to love your veggies.
1. Buy fresh vegetables that are in season. They tend to cost less and are likely to be at their peak flavor.
2. Stock up on frozen vegetables for quick and easy microwave cooking. Veggies can keep in the freezer up to a year.
3. Buy vegetables that are easy to prepare. Pick up pre-washed bags of greens and add baby carrots or grape tomatoes for a salad in minutes.
4. Buy snack packs of veggies, such as baby carrots or celery sticks, for a healthy on-the-go alternative.
5. Use your microwave. White or sweet potatoes can be baked in a fraction of the time it takes in the oven. Learn how to bake a potato in the microwave.
6. Picky eaters? Hide their veggies. Adding spinach to a smoothie or pureed carrots and celery to meatloaf ups veggie intake without changing flavor.
7. Eat the rainbow. Different colors contain different nutrients; add a variety to your diet to take advantage of all the perks.
8. Beware of sauces in pre-packaged veggies, which can add a lot of calories, saturated fat and sodium. Choose wisely, using the Nutrition Facts label to compare calories and Percent of Daily Value for saturated fat and sodium.
9. Prepare fresh foods to lower sodium intake. Most sodium comes from packaged or processed foods.
10. When buying canned, choose reduced sodium options. Add a dash of salt yourself; it will likely be a lot less than the amount in the regular can.
Veggie Lovin’ Recipes
Cook up some veggie love for your family or friends with these flavorful, nutrient-loaded soup and sandwich recipes.
- Mushroom & Beef Sloppy Joes
Blend chopped, sautéed mushrooms with lean ground beef to sneak in an extra serving of vegetables.
- Stuffed Pepper Soup
Let the crockpot work its magic. Slow cooking brings out the sweet and spicy pepper flavors of this dish.
- Minestrone Soup
Warm up with this hearty, savory soup. Each cup offers two servings of veggies.
Are you a veggie lover or hater? How do you creatively add veggies to your diet? Leave your tip in the comments.
Becky Westereng is a registered dietitian at Altru Health System. She is a diabetes educator and certified in sports nutrition. Becky is especially interested in helping people improve their eating and exercise habits by encouraging small steps and a positive attitude. She enjoys spending time with her husband and watching her three children perform music and play sports, while finding time to stay active herself.