Vegetables are an essential source of vitamins and minerals, which is why it’s important to get at least a few portions of them each day. Research indicates that people who eat more vegetables have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and even some cancers. However, some people struggle to eat as much veg as they should. Here are some tips that may help you incorporate more vegetables into your diet.
1) Say Yes to Side Salads
Having a side salad with dinner each day is an easy way to increase your vegetable intake. It doesn’t require any extra cooking or creativity with your meals. Simply toss some lettuce and your favourite salad ingredients into a bowl and that’s one of your five-a-day taken care of!
2) Replace Starchy Carbs with Vegetables
Starchy carbohydrates like potatoes and pasta are an important part of your diet, but swapping them for vegetables sometimes can up your veg intake while lowering your calorie intake. Try swapping potato chips for vegetable chips. Root vegetables like carrots or parsnips can easily be cut into chip shapes and roasted to resemble fries, allowing you to satisfy your chip cravings in a healthy way. Sweet potato can also be dealt with in the same way and make a healthier option.
3) Use Lettuce Leaves as Bread
There’s no rule that requires sandwiches to be made with bread, so why not swap bread slices for lettuce leaves? Chicken, tuna and many other popular fillings taste just as good wrapped up in lettuce leaves. You could even swap burger buns for lettuce leaves.
4) Add Spinach
Spinach contains very few calories and is a nice addition to many meals, including soups, stews, casseroles, omelettes and stir fries. Incorporating it into your meals is a great way to boost your vegetable intake without making your portions too large or too filling.
5) Drink Your Vegetables
While smoothies are most often made with fruit, some vegetables make nice smoothie ingredients too. Green smoothies containing vegetables like kale, spinach or broccoli taste great and are full of beneficial nutrients and vitamins. They’re a nice way of consuming more vegetables for people who don’t particularly enjoy eating their greens, because the blend of various ingredients alters their taste, and the liquid consistency makes them easier to get down! Smoothies are also a good way of getting your vegetables on busy days because they can easily be consumed on the go.
6) Eat Veggie Snacks
If you get peckish, ditch the chocolate and crisps and munch on sticks of cucumber, peppers and carrot instead. These taste great when eaten with dips such as salsa or low-fat cheese spread.
7) Try Meatless Mondays
The Meatless Monday campaign encourages people to go meat-free one day each week – and that day doesn’t necessarily have to be Monday! Skipping meat one day a week is good for you and encourages you to eat more vegetables, as they become the main part of your meal. There are many tasty meat-free recipes that are just as filling and satisfying as meals which include meat, so try some of them out.
With so many ways to fit vegetables into your diet, there’s no good reason not to eat plenty of them. Remember, eating lots of veg will help you maintain a healthy weight and keep your heart healthy, so it’s always worth making an effort to fit them into your meals and snacking habits.
If you have ever considered starting a vegetarian diet, you may like to read our earlier article on the pros and cons of such a diet.
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