One of the first things I look for when looking at a patient’s food log is what kinds of vegetables they’re eating. Many people barely eat a serving (1/2 cup) of vegetables per day. You should aim for 3-4 servings of vegetables per day to have a balanced diet–that’s only two cups of vegetables. Use these ideas to get your veggies down the hatch.
1. Veggie party
When we’ve just gotten groceries and we need to chop up fresh vegetables and put them into the fridge, we’ll snack on vegetables in the process. The veggie party refers to all vegetables being out on the counter, and we pull out different kinds of dips from the fridge (hummus, mustard, home made Greek yogurt dip, salsa, guacamole, etc.) and eat a couple servings of vegetables and dip.
2. Rice roll ups
Rice-paper wraps stuffed with vegetables is a way to get in cups of vegetables easily and mindlessly. Rice paper wraps are cheap, easy to use, and afford a bit of simple carbs. You can include any kinds of vegetables that you want, along with hummus, tuna salad, different sauces and dressings, or my favorite, an avocado. You can find these rice paper wraps in North Carolina at World Market, in the Northeast at Wegman’s, and if neither of these stores is near you, order a few packages online, they’ll last you a while.
3. Ultimate Salad
The Ultimate Salad is just a fancy name for a really big salad. There is an actual blueprint to create an “authentic” ultimate salad that you can find right here. The Ultimate Salad uses a base of some kind of tender lettuce with additional vegetables, protein, healthy oils, and “fillers,” like olives, craisins, and feta cheese. The salad should be big enough to use as a meal, potentially affording you all your vegetable servings for the day.
4. The roast
This may be the easiest way to get in your vegetables. Use 2-5 different kinds of vegetables that can be roasted, chop them up, toss them in some olive oil with seasonings, and roast in the oven at 450 degrees F for 15-60 minutes, depending on your vegetables. Try using this guide to determine cooking times. This is a good way to experiment with different combinations–red pepper thrown into a sweet potato and squash roast is heavenly. Zucchini, eggplant, and tomato will meld together beautifully.
5. The salad bar
In place of fast food or take out, I suggest to you the salad bar. Here in North Carolina I go to Harris Teeter’s salad bar and make a huge salad. The great thing about grocery stores’ salad bars is that there are things on the bar that you might not normally keep at home. This is a great opportunity to try new vegetables. I often load up on marinated artichokes, pickled beets, and sweet snap peas, as I rarely keep these things on hand. There are usually a number of protein options to choose from, like marinated chicken breast, seafood salad, and hard boiled eggs.
When you’ve had a late Friday at work and you’ve got to get home and put something healthy on the table, this is a godsend.
Any other tips or tricks for getting vegetables in? Share them!