If I’m honest, a New Year’s Resolution is the furthest thing from my mind right now. However, might I offer a suggestion to those of you who are still Christmas shopping and also not thinking about healthy habits in 2019?
EAT. MORE. VEGGIES.
It’s that simple. Vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, low in natural sugars and calories, and often full of fiber. Most adults should have 2-3 cups of vegetables per day, according to MyPlate guidelines. Veggies really should be part of every meal, not just dinner. And please don’t confuse limp, cheese-sauce-drenched broccoli with the real version. Veggies don’t always need to be fresh; reheated frozen varieties are often just as nutritious, if not more! These days, produce is flash-frozen so quickly that it may retain even more nutrients than the ‘fresh’ varieties that have spent days traveling from the field and then stocked in the produce section of your local grocery store. Don’t overthink it! Veggies don’t need a recipe to shine; check out the following easy-peasy ways to increase your vegetable intake!
-Toss spinach or shredded carrots into your smoothie for extra iron, Vitamin K and beta-carotene, respectively.
-Eat last night’s leftovers! Why not?!
-Eat salad for breakfast; top with a fried egg for 7 grams of protein, B vitamins and choline, or add berries for extra fiber and antioxidants.
-I’ll say it again; if you’re still using iceberg lettuce, we need to talk. Spinach and kale are excellent choices for salads. The darker, more vibrant the color of your vegetables, the better they are for you. Spinach also has tons of Vitamin C and calcium; it’s truly a super food.
-Subbing spaghetti squash for regular pasta will save you 200 calories per cup! I promise, you can barely tell the difference!
Add, Add, Add
-When it comes to vegetables, more really IS more. Add extra spinach or kale to soups, or cubed butternut squash to chili.
-Add another dish to the table, even if it’s simply pre-washed, lightly dressed greens. If you don’t make it available, no one will eat it–including yourself!
-Always keep bags of frozen veggies in the freezer. Pea and carrot mixes are handy for homemade fried rice, Asian mixes are perfect for stir-fry and tri-colored peppers are major timesavers for omelets.
Try Something New, or Just Keep Trying
-I recently made Beet, Blueberry Molasses Muffins from Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. I got energy-boosting nitrates from the beets, fiber from the blueberries and iron from the molasses—all at breakfast. AND, they were delicious.
-While the kids are home over winter break, make an activity out of dinner. Have them pick something new at the grocery store, then allow them to help prepare it. Good choices might be kale, winter squash or purple potatoes.
-It may take a few tries or recipes, but persevere with vegetables that you—or your children—may not love. My mom didn’t let my sister’s dislike of beans keep her from cooking them, and I went so far as to write ‘I don’t like beets!’ in a cookbook years ago, only to fall in love with them later.
May 2019 be the year you EAT. MORE. VEGGIES!