Vegetables are one of the most important parts of nutrition in that they contain more vitamins and micronutrients than any other food. They also contain high amounts of fiber which helps us with proper bowel function, lowers cholesterol, and may lower the risk of heart disease. We know all of this yet we struggle so much with getting enough veggies in our system each and every day. The USDA recommends 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies per day. It is super easy to get those tasty sweet fruits in but vegetables definitely pose a challenge for most. Myself included! I love them but they take time to prepare and I do not always get enough into my day. Below are 4 veggie hacks that I use to get most of my veggies in.
For some, the thought of a green smoothie is not appealing but I have found ways to add vegetables to my smoothies that taste amazing. In fact, you can’t even taste them. The two veggies that I put in my smoothies most of the time are spinach and frozen cauliflower. I highly recommend buying the frozen cauliflower and fresh spinach and keeping both in the freezer. This allows you to have that cold, ice-like texture in your smoothies and you do not even taste them. I do not have an exact measurement for what I put in my “green” smoothies and I vary up the ingredients but those two veggies always make their way into my morning or afternoon smoothie. My go to includes:
- unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- frozen blueberries
- half of a banana (sometimes a full one)
- 1/2 cup of oats if I need some extra carbs
- handful of frozen spinach
- handful of frozen cauliflower
- 1 Tbsp of chia seeds
- powdered peanut butter
- scoop of chocolate protein powder of choice (I use Publix Greenwise most of the time)
Some other veggie options could include kale and zucchini but get creative and find something that is convenient and tasty so you will stick to it.
I eat protein oats almost every single day for breakfast. I have to give credit to Annie at Power Up Nutrition for the “proats” (protein oats) that I eat almost daily but one thing I have implemented to increase my veggie intake is riced cauliflower. You can make your own riced cauliflower or you can buy it pre-made or frozen. As with the smoothie, you do not taste it amongst the other ingredients.
“Proats” (protein oats):
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill gluten free oats
- 1/3 cup egg whites
- 1/3 cup of pre-made cauliflower rice
Optional Toppings: you can vary these and choose whatever you want to taste
- collagen or other types of protein for extra protein
- Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
- cinnamon or pumpkin spice
- peanut butter or powdered peanut butter
It does not have to be as complicated as you might think. Sometimes you may not have time to chop and prepare veggies to roast or cook. That shouldn’t be an excuse to avoid vegetables. You can find any type of vegetable in the frozen food section, microwave it up, and add butter and season it to your liking. I like to use Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning or simply salt and pepper. Easy peasy!
Now I know that some greens out there are absolutely disgusting and taste like you are drinking dirt but there are a few I have tried that are really good. The best one is by Poliquin. They have chocolate, strawberry kiwi, and even espresso. I have put the strawberry kiwi flavor in shakes and even my oats. The espresso I have mixed with ice coffee for an afternoon pick me up! Right from their website:
These Wellness Greens are an easy-to-mix, great tasting, nutrient-rich superfood formula with whole food concentrates designed to provide synergistic phytonutrient nutrition. It provides a “super blend” of 100% natural fruit and vegetable extracts, vitamins, flax lignans, ionic trace minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and symbiotic intestinal flora.
I know some might be hesitant but trust me, these taste good and the ingredients are amazing and beneficial for all kinds of good reasons. Click their link above to read more.
Those are my easy and simple hacks to add more veggies to your life. Of course, you do what works for you but challenge yourself to implement one of these and see how it goes. Good luck!!!