Are you looking to eat more veggies, but don’t know where to start? If you don’t like many vegetables or you’re in a vegetable rut, it may be time to change things up. Eating plenty of vegetables provides countless benefits for your health. Vegetables can lower our risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, gastrointestinal problems, and promote a healthy weight.¹
Even though many of us know this, only 1 out of every 10 adults eats enough of them.² Why is it so challenging? Well, maybe you don’t like what you’re eating. If that’s the case, you may have trouble staying consistent with meeting the recommended 5 servings a day. You may also need more ideas on how to add more veggies into your meals. Here are my top 5 tips on how to eat more veggies so you can boost your health and meet your wellness goals.
1. Add vegetables to every meal (including breakfast!)
This is also a great way to increase your total vegetable servings without having too much at once. If you skip veggies at breakfast, you will be trying to play catch up the rest of the day in order to get in enough. Plus, veggies are packed with fiber, and you don’t want to overload your digestive system all at once. My favorite ways to enjoy veggies at breakfast are either in a green smoothie, or with eggs, like in these Mini Egg Soufflés. You can also adopt a “Meatless Monday” theme and try more vegetarian meals!
2. Use vegetables in place of grains in your meals
Many vegetables are wonderful substitutions for common grains like rice or pasta. For example, instead of rice, try cauliflower rice. Instead of spaghetti, use spaghetti squash, spiralized zucchini, or sweet potato. You can find many of these spaghetti substitutes already pre-spiralized at the grocery store. Don’t want to go all-in? Even a 50/50 blend of veggies and grains can make a difference. These simple swaps will effortlessly boost your vegetable intake and provide enhanced nutrition with less calories than the grain versions.
3. Snack on vegetables
Many of us may reach for a piece of fruit as a snack, but don’t miss this great opportunity to get in another vegetable serving! But keep it fun – add a dip or spread to things. Hint: this also means your kids are more likely to eat them! Try red pepper strips dipped in hummus, carrots and black bean dip, or celery with peanut butter and raisins for “ants on a log.”
4. Make wraps with lettuce instead
Cut calories and carbs by using lettuce to make your wraps. Boston bibb lettuce, romaine, or cabbage leaves make great wrap options. Add in your favorite sandwich toppings or proteins like grilled shrimp, chicken, or tofu.
5. Try a veggie-boosted drink
If you’ve tried everything else and still are struggling to get in enough veggies, try adding to your favorite smoothie or beverage. There are a variety of powdered greens on the market that can help boost your intake, mixed into water or blended in a smoothie. Try a handful of baby spinach or frozen cauliflower “hidden” in your favorite smoothie.
There are so many great reasons to eat more vegetables, many more which are discussed in this helpful post by Jinan Banna, PhD, RD. Thinking outside the box will help you eat more veggies and keep things interesting.
Vegetables do not have to be bland or boring. Try different things and see what works best for you, because the best way to make sure you’re getting enough veggies is to enjoy what you’re eating!
- Slavin, J; Loyde, B. Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables. Adv. Nutr. 2012 Jul; 3(4): 506–516.
- Center for Disease Control. Only One in 10 Adults Gets Enough Fruits or Vegetables. www.cdc.gov. Published November 16, 2017. Accessed June 30, 2020.