It doesn’t matter how old I get, my mom still takes every chance she can to tell me to eat my fruits and veggies. She strives to be vegan and regularly admonishes her daughters to adopt a vegan lifestyle. I have decided full vegan isn’t for me right now, but where she and I have no disagreement is that eating more fruits and vegetables is a good thing.
I happen to love fruit, though I’m not always prone to choose it over, say, ice-cream. However, vegetables have never been my forte. I think they are best had deep fried (have you ever tried Indian pakora? Yummy) or covered in cheese.
In my effort to add more fruits and veggies into my life, I offer five ideas that have been useful in my efforts so far.
1) Add dressings and dips
My mother is a purist when it comes to vegetables. She thinks they are best raw and without any dips or sauces. I happen to disagree. If the only way that vegetables will pass through my lips is dipped in sauce, then dipped in sauce they shall be! The question is not to sauce or not sauce. The question instead is: what are healthy sauces or dips that can make eating vegetables more palatable while not eroding their benefits? There are options out there! If you love ranch dressing (like I do), reach for a yogurt-based dressing. Hummus works well, too. And, throwing some low-fat mozzarella cheese on broccoli can make all the difference in the world.
Don’t be afraid to add a reasonable amount of tasty goodness to your vegetables.
2) Add fruit to any dessert
You may be a fruit-lover, but when it comes to dessert, you would choose ice-cream over fruit any day of the week. Guess what? You don’t have to choose one or the other. Fruit naturally complements just about any dessert. Indulging in a piece of chocolate cake? Add some raspberries. In the mood for vanilla ice cream? Throw in some strawberries.
And, if you want fruit to be the dessert, throw some fruit in a bowl and add some cool-whip. You may find your sweet tooth is quite satisfied with this simple dessert.
3) Soup it up
I love a good soup. It is warm, comforting, filling, and tasty. Yummy brothy soups can be deceptively healthy and are a great way to get veggies. TasteofHome.com has several great soup recipes.
Soups can be tweaked to fit your mood, too. Need some more substance? Add beef or chicken. Looking for something light? Stick to veggies and broth. Want an energy booster? Throw in some grains like quinoa.
4) Crack an egg
One of my favorite breakfasts is a veggie-egg omelet. It is so easy to make, so filling, and a great way to get veggies. Throw an egg or two (or some egg whites) in a greased pan. Then add mushrooms, onions, green peppers and any other veggies you desire. Throw on some light mozzarella cheese (because what is an omelet without cheese?). Add some salsa (or my favorite, Pace Picante Sauce Thick & Chunky). And, viola – you have a hearty breakfast that is good for you, too. The eggs, salsa and cheese add rich flavor to the vegetables. You can cram this breakfast with vegetables and still think you are getting a treat.
5) Vegetize your stir-fry
I love Chinese food. The problem is that I always walk away feeling stuffed. One reason for this is the copious amounts of rice I usually consume with it. Yet, stir-fry doesn’t have to be so unhealthy. If you make it at home and include plenty of vegetables, it can be a tasty, filling, treat. As you add vegetables, I suggest reducing or eliminating the rice. The rice should either be non-existent (who said stir-fry needs to be eaten with rice?) or added like a garnish to add a little bulk to the stir-fry if you really want to.
What kind of vegetables should you add? This is up to you. There is no reason to limit your veggies to how they are used in traditional Chinese fare. Add those veggies, some stir-fry sauce, and your choice of protein, and you have a wonderful dinner.
I hope this helps. Adding veggies and fruits to our daily routine is not always easy, especially with the call of fast-food and easy calories out there, but it can be done.