It’s ironic that as humans we often have a thing for all kinds of stuff that aren’t great for our wellbeing. This tendency reflects greatly in our food choices too. Researchers have found that only 12% of Americans eat the minimum daily fruit recommendation of one and a half to two cups per day, and only 9% consume the minimum daily vegetable recommendation of two to three cups per day.
Despite all their innate goodness, veggies don’t feature in the list of favorite foods for many. Adding veggies to any diet significantly enhances its nutritional value. They play major roles in the smooth functioning of bodily processes. However, unless you have them in their unprocessed form, you aren’t going to get any of their benefits. Here are 6 interesting ways in which you can include them in your diet without compromising on flavor.
1. Garnish All That’s Savory With Herbs
Using herbs to garnish dishes not only makes them aesthetic but also raises their nutritional value. You can add herbs like basil, cilantro, dill, mint, parsley, rosemary, and thyme in finely chopped form or as ingredients of dressing. These aromatic herbs are loaded with antioxidants and minerals which are good for your health. You can even grow them in small pots at home rather than buying them so that they are easily accessible every time you are cooking.1
2. Make Dips Made Out Of Greens And Legumes
Homemade pestos that are based on chunks of kale and spinach are both cost-effective and healthy. They are great dips for chicken, fish, crackers, and chips. Hummus is also a must-have if you want to incorporate all the health benefits of legumes like chickpeas in your diet. They taste awesome with a wide variety of bread.[/ref]Wallace, Taylor C., Robert Murray, and Kathleen M. Zelman. “The nutritional value and health benefits of chickpeas and hummus.” Nutrients 8, no. 12 (2016): 766.[/ref]
3. Opt For Veggie-Based Baking
The first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word baking is something sweet and creamy. If you are a baking enthusiast with a sweet tooth, satiating your sweet teeth is not as good for your health as it seems. Customize your baking recipes to include real vegetables. You can do this by baking savory recipes like vegetable muffins, meat-based pies, tarts with veggies and more.
4. Introduce Them During Snack Time
Snacking is irresistible but not always kind to your waistline. Instead of munching on processed chips, you can go for excellent alternatives like carrots, celery, sugar snap peas, string beans, cucumbers, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, and avocados. Homemade chips made from beetroot, kale and sweet potatoes are also perfect for snack time. Have them with a delicious dip of your choice to make them more exciting.2
5. Include Them In Breakfast Smoothies
If you aren’t a morning person who has time to sit down and have breakfast, you should not leave for work without at least gulping a smoothie. A smoothie with handfuls of greens, a banana, some milk, berries, and nuts is a terrific way to start your day. It will keep you full thereby avoiding you from unnecessary snacking until lunchtime. In addition to that, a veggie smoothie will provide you with steady energy without any jitters that come from having too much caffeine in the morning.
6. Go For Veggie Noodles
Make your own noodles at home from vegetables like zucchini, sweet potato, carrots, beets, and squash. These are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, unlike the typical flour-based noodles. They are also ideal alternatives for those who are allergic to gluten.
Before the year ends, kickstart the practice of increasing your vegetable intake without sacrificing flavor. This will not only be a positive dietary change but will also encourage your loved ones to follow your example.3
|↑1||Firenzuoli, Fabio, and Luigi Gori. “Herbal medicine today: clinical and research issues.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 4, no. S1 (2007): 37-40.|
|↑2||Dhandevi, P. E. M., and Rajesh Jeewon. “Fruit and vegetable intake: Benefits and progress of nutrition education interventions-narrative review article.” Iranian journal of public health 44, no. 10 (2015): 1309.|
|↑3||Guenther, Patricia M., Kevin W. Dodd, Jill Reedy, and Susan M. Krebs-Smith. “Most Americans eat much less than recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 106, no. 9 (2006): 1371-1379.|