We all know by now that vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. They’re high in fiber and low in calories. They are full of vitamins and minerals and reduce our risk of chronic illness, heart disease and stroke.
However, knowing all of this doesn’t necessarily make it easier to get the recommended 3 or 4 servings every day. Even if you enjoy vegetables it can be tough ….and it’s almost impossible if you don’t!
That’s why today’s episode is all about ways to sneak extra veggies into your regular meals without the need to substitute cauliflower for everything. Plus for those picky eaters, I’ve got some tips on how to hide a few servings of veggies here and there without even noticing.
How To Eat More Veggies
1. Hide veggies in your smoothies
I always add a few handfuls of spinach to my protein shakes. You can also add kale, swiss chard and collard greens. When combined with berries you will neither see nor taste those leafy greens. In fact it was 10 years before my kids ever knew there was spinach in their smoothies and the only reason they found out was that they caught me in the act.
In addition to leafy greens, leftover cooked sweet potato, peas, carrots or beets are great additions. Adding avocado will make your shake extra creamy and delicious.
2. Add extra vegetables to pasta sauce
You can chop them up fresh or just toss in a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. For those picky eaters, puree it all up once it’s cooked and no one will be the wiser.
Side note – if you don’t have one..go out now and get yourself an immersion blender. It was one of the best appliances I ever bought. You can puree your sauce or soup right in the pot. No need to dirty the blender or risk spilling hot soup or sauce everywhere. You don’t have to shell out a ton of money…you can find decent ones for around $20 or $30.
3. Use more fresh herbs
Remember fresh herbs are leafy greens too! Fresh basil, oregano, sage and thyme are high in antioxidants as well as flavour. Add them to rice, pasta, casseroles, sandwiches and egg dishes.
4. Try canned pumpkin puree
You can skip the cooking and pureeing steps and just buy a few cans of pumpkin puree to add to your next dinner or baking recipe. It packs a nutritional punch adding 4g of fiber per serving. Pumpkin puree is a great substitute for oil (swap it one for one – so use ¼ cup of pumpkin in place of ¼ cup of oil). Add it to chocolate chip cookies, pancakes or even use it to make a creamy alfredo pasta sauce.
Scroll to the end of the post for this quick and delicious recipe.
5. Plan some ‘fridge cleaning meals’
And finally if I’ve got a bunch of veggies that are nearing their life span in my fridge I’ll add them to soups, stews, casseroles and frittatas. These are great fridge cleaning meals. Again, whip out your hand blender if you want to get stealthy or just chop them up and toss them in adding colour, texture and flavour.
While I do enjoy cauliflower rice, and zucchini noodles, I’ve never been able to convince my family that they are legitimate substitutes for the real thing. That’s why I prefer to toss them into what I am already making to ensure we are getting all the benefits from these nutritional superheroes with….a little less push back.
Whether you hide them or show them off in all their glory, adding vegetables to boost your regular recipes will fill you up, keep you regular, boost your immunity and help you maintain a healthy weight – willpower not required.
Alfredo Pasta (with Pumpkin!!)
Prep Time 5 mins Total Time 20 mins Serves 4
- 1 lb pasta of your choice
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup sage leaves
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1- 15oz can pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup sour cream
- Cook the pasta according to package directions
- Meanwhile in a small skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil then sage leaves and saute for 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside
- In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onions and garlic about 1 minute. Add pumpkin and vinegar and season with salt and black pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in cheese and butter until melted and creamy. Stir in sour cream and pasta until well coated
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
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