We millennials can go on (hashtag) “adulting” all we want, yet, strangely enough, the mere sight of vegetables still happens to bring out the fussy child in each one of us. It’s not like we don’t know enough to understand why we ought to be making vegetables and greens our new best friends. But while the evidence continues to pile up in favor of vegetables, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently declared that most Americans eat less than half of their daily recommended intake of vegetables.1
We get it. Munching on leaves, tubers, roots, and stems for what seems like an eternity is not your thing. The key, however, is to start small. Serving yourself an entire bowl brimming over with steamed or raw vegetables may certainly do wonders for your body, but not so much for your mood, especially after a long day at work.
So here are 5 easy ways for you to trick yourself into getting used to and possibly even enjoying eating more of those vegetables.
1. Reserve Half Your Plate For Them
It can be hard to eat enough vegetables every day. But if you adopt a habit of loading up half of your plate with veggies for every meal, you are pretty much in the clear. This will also keep you from over-eating, as vegetables are very filling.
The important thing to keep in mind, however, is that the whole point of eating vegetables is to keep ourselves healthy, which also includes maintaining a good weight. So do remember that vegetables can be fattening too. For instance, potatoes, navy beans, and corn can be high in carb content and give you way more calories than you may really need. Instead, opt for non-starchy veggies like spinach, carrots, and broccoli. These are not only low in calories but super high in essential nutrients and water!
2. Eat Them Before Dining Out
Eating out leaves you at the mercy of fatty savory snacks and creamy desserts. It’s only human to forget about eating your share of those greens when accosted by a rich spread like that.
What you can do, however, is fill yourself up on a cup or two of raw veggies before you head out. Not only will this help you get your dose of veggies beforehand, but will also fill your tummy up partially. That way, when you finally come face to face with the spread, you won’t be as tempted stuff your face with all that calorie-heavy food which is not just good for your health, but also for your waistline!
3. Use Them As “Secret Healthy” Ingredients
Agreed, vegetables don’t always seem too tempting in their natural form. Also, we also tend to think that eating more greens automatically calls for cutting down on our favorite foods which are not typically known for their nutritional value. This makes us even more resentful towards our greens and will do nothing to make vegetable-eating any easier for us.
The best way around this dilemma is to use vegetables to make healthier versions of the foods that you already love. Can’t do without pasta? Invest in a vegetable spiralizer and ditch the refined carbs-heavy noodles for zucchini or radish noodles. Craving pizza this weekend? Make your own pizza base using mashed cauliflower.
Will it taste the same? No, not exactly. But will it taste awful? Definitely not.
This trick will help make your vegetables taste much more delicious without asking you to break up with your comfort foods entirely, and is a much more sustainable way to stay on the path of eating your vegetables for a longer time.
4. Grill, Roast Or Bake Them
When you’re not into the whole “green scene”, eating your veggies steamed or raw seems way out of the question, no matter how much you season them. But you can always grill, roast, or bake them. Toss your beans in your favorite dressing and transfer them to the grill, sprinkle some kale leaves with garlic salt and stick them into the oven or slice up a sweet potato, drizzle with some oil and bake them. These methods of cooking are incredibly quick, give your veggies a flavorful crunch, and are also very healthy.
Apply this rule for pretty much all your greens and you’ll be surprised to see how quickly this translates to meeting your daily vegetable intake.
5. Use Them To Customize Take-Outs
Life is short, so it’s okay to enjoy a takeout or order for home delivery from that favorite restaurant once in awhile. So go ahead and call for your favorite Chinese noodles or that pepperoni pizza.
While it’s on its way, chop up some vegetables and sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper, maybe even add a drizzle of your favorite dressing. Once your food arrives, top it with those vegetables. Not only do you get your fill of “happy food”, but also manage to sneak in some vegetables! Easy!
|↑1||Adults Meeting Fruit and Vegetable Intake Recommendations — United States, 2013. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|