Expand Your Vegetable Repertoire
- For the first half of the week, you’re going to have one more serving of vegetables per day than you used to. So if you usually have three, you’re going to have four.
- For the second half of the week, add one more serving to that, so if you had three before this week, you’d increase to five per day. We also want you to either try a new vegetable you’ve never tried before OR try a new way of preparing your veggies (see below).
Before we get started, here’s what we want you to do: estimate how many servings of vegetables you currently eat in a day. A serving is 1-cup raw or cooked veggies, or 2 cups of leafy greens. Keep this number in your head because we’ll use it for this week’s challenge.
Here are some of the benefits of eating a diet high in veggies:
- Low calorie, high fiber “freebies” – Most veggies are low in calories and high in fiber, so you can snack on them anytime without having to “count” or factor the calories into your meal plan.
- Disease-busters – Vegetables may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity and Type 2 diabetes, and may protect against certain cancers, as well as help you maintain a healthy blood pressure.
- Health-boosters – They’re a good source of vitamin A, C, folic acid and potassium.
- Appetite control – Because they’re high in fiber and water, vegetables are natural appetite suppressants. With a bigger helping of veggies on your plate, you’ll feel full despite smaller portions of the high-calorie stuff.
When you prepare foods in advance, you’re more likely to eat them. So get salad veggies, chop up your whole salad, and keep it in gallon size bag so you can toss a big salad together anytime. You can do the same for any of your veggies!
A Tip on Trying New Veggies
- Slice it and try it raw with some salt.
- Dice it up and steam it.
- Roast it.
- Saute with olive oil or coconut oil.
Most veggies are really good in at least one of these ways. Have you tried okra and chayote, for example?
How to Get More Veggies in Your Plan
Salads* – Make big salads with a base of romaine lettuce, kale or spinach, topping them with cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, carrots, peas, onion, broccoli, cauliflower and more! You can include less common veggies like water chestnuts, jicama, chayote squash and raw asparagus. Fresh mint or basil leaves give your salad such a fresh taste!
*Note about dressings: A common issue with salads is keeping the dressing healthy. Use some sort of liquid flavoring such as lime juice, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar or even a teaspoon of a vinaigrette dressing, and adding seasonings such as salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin or Stevia for a sweet or savory flavor.
Roasted Veggies – Cut up onion (red or white), bell pepper, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus and zucchini and roast them. Set your oven to 450 degrees and roast for about 20-30 minutes watching carefully after 20 min. You want to pull them out when the tops start turning slightly brown. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness in the veggies and it’s so yummy!
Raw “snackers” – You can always cut up raw veggies to snack on and keep in bags so you can grab and go! Are you going for a day in a boat? Take with you celery, cucumber, carrots, jicama and bell pepper.
Stir Fry – Another great way to include a ton of veggies in meal. You can stir-fry zucchini, broccoli, snow peas, baby corn, bean sprouts, carrots, bell peppers, onions, water chestnuts, etc. with some light soy sauce, liquid aminos or another stir fry sauce. Adding meat and rice is optional.
Steamed Veggies –Good veggies to steam are zucchini, broccoli, green beans cauliflower, carrots and any squashes.
Sandwiches – When you make a sandwich use a ton of veggies! Add lettuce, onion, tomato, asparagus, cucumber and really any veggie you can slice thinly and layer on top of each other. For the asparagus, use raw asparagus, break the tough ends off and then cut it in half lengthwise and lay it on my sandwich. It adds a great crunch!
Green Smoothies –
- Choose your base (almond milk, coconut water, rice milk, green tea or water)
- Choose your greens (spinach, kale, collards…)
- Choose your fruit (Apple, banana, papaya, avocado, pineapple, mango …)
- Super extra (whey, Greek yogurt, chia seeds, flax seed, nut butter, cinnamon, raw cacao…)
- Add ice, blend and enjoy.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any question or any difficulty with this challenge: (+501) 616-3250 or firstname.lastname@example.org
— Thaiane “Thai” Ribeiro