While nutrition is rife with controversy, nearly everyone agrees eating more vegetables can help improve your health and well-being.
The challenge for many people is that vegetables are not easily accessible and don’t exactly taste great. In fact, they can taste downright awful. When faced with a side of fries, or raw broccoli, the side of fries will win by a landslide in a taste test.
So how can you start eating more vegetables? What are some practical ideas even if you have a busy schedule?
We asked our contributing fitness experts, along with the BuiltLean community on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube for ways to eat more vegetables. Here’s a list of 35 ways to eat more vegetables we compiled.
If you like the list, we hope that you share it with friends!
1) Add Veggies to Your Eggs – Kick-start your day by adding veggies to an omelet, or some scrambled eggs. Veggies like spinach, peppers, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and kale work very well.
2) Replace Fries With Salad – Replace your side order of fries with salad when ordering at restaurants.
3) Dip Veggies – Dip veggies like celery, carrots, and broccoli into healthy fats like hummus or guacamole to make them tastier.
4) Swap Candy for Sweet Veggies – Replace refined-sugar treats with sweet root vegetables like sweet potatoes, cooked carrots, and beets.
5) Buy Pre-Cut Veggies – Use pre-cut vegetables as a great nutritional time saver to throw into any home-cooked meal.
6) Cook One New Vegetable Per Month – Explore learning to cook/make one vegetable per month with different recipes, until you find a recipe you really like.
7) View Savory Photos of Veggies – View the vegetables sections of sites like Foodgawker or Tastespotter to whet your appetite and explore new ways to cook veggies.
8 ) Practice Meatless Mondays – Avoid eating any meat on Mondays. Instead, eat plenty of veggies to fill you up.
9) Stock up on Frozen Vegetables – Fresh vegetables are great, but they tend to spoil before we are ready to use them. If you have frozen vegetables on hand, you won’t have to make any excuses!
10) Add A “Veggie Hour” to Your Week – Make your life easier by setting aside one hour a week to cut up onions, peppers, zucchini, and sweet potatoes (two trays worth). Put them in the oven for 45 minutes and you have enough cooked vegetables for a week that can be added as a side with any meal
11) Make A Veggie Pancake – Mix pancake batter (buckwheat is a great choice) and throw in some cooked crumbled sausage (pork or chicken), a big dose of grated gouda, and any finely chopped veggie you can dream of for a vitamin packed pancake
12) Try A Veggie You Don’t Like Again – Try a vegetable you think you don’t like in a new way: you might think you don’t like a certain vegetable but it’s entirely possible you don’t like the way you’ve had it prepared in the past. Maybe it was overcooked or cooked with spices you don’t like. Try it raw or prepare it yourself with spices and other vegetables you do like.
13) Add Veggies to Chopped Meat – Grate vegetables like carrots, squash, cucumber into things like hamburger patties, meatballs, or meatloaf for picky eaters
14) Grill Your Vegetables For Better Taste – Corn, carrots, cauliflower and beets are great choices. Just spray with a little cooking oil and sprinkle on some salt, pepper, Old Bay, or seasoning of your choice before you grill!
15) Add Vegetables to Soups – Soups are another great way to get more veggie into your life. All good soups start with a strong vegetable base such as onion, celery, carrot, and peppers. Squash is wonderful in soup, as is broccoli, turnip, beets, and beans.
16) Eat Vegetable Soup As An Appetizer – Serve vegetable soup as an appetizer to fill up & avoid over-eating less nutritional dishes.
17) Incorporate Veggies Into The Entree – Incorporate vegetables into the main dish, as opposed to a side pile you can “forget” to eat: try serving chicken “cordon-blue” stuffed with asparagus, spinach, or peas instead of calorie-dense ham & cheese.
18) Double the Veggies in Your Recipes – Double the amount of vegetables in certain recipes and you’re way ahead of the game
19) Make Veggie Pasta – Cut your carb intake in half & cook pasta with long strips of squash and carrot. You’ll be twirling those veggies around your fork with each bite.
20) Add Spinach With Lettuce – Pile spinach on your sandwiches in addition to lettuce, or use it as a substitute for denser nutritional value
21) Make A Vegetable Smoothie – Make a vegetable smoothie with a juicer for a great addition to any breakfast. Try carrot, ginger, and some apple for a pleasant combination.
22) Add Veggies to Marinara Sauce – Marinara sauce can help make vegetables taste a lot better and create an appealing consistency. Mushrooms, onion, peas, green beans can all add great flavor and nutrients.
23) Veggie Mashed Potato – Mix cauliflower in with mashed potato, or use it as a substitute.
24) Swap Mayo for A Veggie Spread – Ditch mayonnaise and butter on sandwiches – make your own dressing instead with blended basil, garlic, spinach, & olive oil or even pesto to add flavor.
25) Drink Water Instead of Soda/Juice – Drinking water and cutting out fruit juices and soda has been shown to increase appetite for vegetables and create higher levels of satiety.
26) Make A Veggie Bag – Cut up some baby carrots, snow peas, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers, and put them in a zip loc bag, and you can bring them to work, or keep them in the fridge for a pre-made snack.
27) Make Vegetable Chili – the more vegetables you include, the better the flavor & texture. Try different combinations until you find your favorite.
28) Buy a CSA Box – Buy a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box to try new vegetables that are freshly picked, organic produce from local farmers. Typically each box will cost $20-$40 with weekly delivery available.
29) Boil With Bacon – Try boiling greens like collard greens or turnip greens with a piece of bacon, or turkey bacon in the pot. The greens soak in the flavor so you have lots of tasty veggies without loads of extra calories.
30) Take a Greens Supplement – Not a whole vegetable, but technically several vegetables condensed into one serving. Dietary supplements can never replace eating whole veggies, but it’s a good start.
31) Purge Your Cupboards – Get rid of the empty carbs and calories in your kitchen and the stash you may keep at the office, then buy some veggies. When you get hungry and want a snack, your only option will be a veggie snack.
32) Think More Veggies – Think about how vegetables grow out of the ground into something loaded with nutrients, fiber and taste too. It’s as nature intended. Makes more sense than eating something manufactured in a lab, right?
33) Replace Bread With Lettuce Wraps – Replace nutritionally anemic white bread with lettuce wraps of romaine, or collard greens when making your next sandwich.
34) Try Kale Chips – Kale chips are tasty, convenient, and a heck of a lot more nutrient dense than potato chips.
35) Implement This List – Complete one suggestion on this list every week. You’ll be eating plenty of vegetables in no time!
Do you have any ways to eat more vegetables that you like?