You’ve probably noticed a pattern in my blog posts by now. I always mention eating colourful fruits and vegetables as a recommendation. There’s a reason for that: the science is unanimous. Eating a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables is good for you and there is no question about it. Many people, however, struggle to find ways to “eat the rainbow”. Fruits are easy to grab and eat on the go or cut in a fruit salad. In this blog post, we will concentrate on ways to eat more vegetables.
How do I get more vegetables in my diet?
1. Salads are a simple answer. They are easy to find in restaurants and snack stores and easy to prepare because no cooking is required. Very often they look similar: lettuce, tomato, cucumber. You make them less boring by adding more colour and more vegetables. Some ideas: shredded carrot, shredded beets, corn, nuts (for their fat, protein and crunchiness), radish, olives, red or yellow bell peppers. You can also play around with the dressing. As a Mediterranean-born child, I love olive oil and I don’t need much more than that, but I understand that it is not enough for everybody. You can experiment with different kinds of vinegar (apple cider, balsamic) as well as nut butters such as tahini. Lemon can also be a good substitute, while a combination of mustard and honey can give your salad a sweet twist.
2. Another way is to make a smoothie. I would suggest you make a smoothie at home rather than buy a ready-made one, because of the sugar intake. If you look at the label or the person preparing your smoothie at the smoothie shop, you will notice that they put 10 apples for 1 spinach leaf, even though the description says ‘spinach, fennel, parsley smoothie’. If you make it at home, get creative: Add fruits as well as vegetables, as many colours as possible and include some protein and fat (avocado, ground linseed, occasionally protein powder, etc.).
3. Buy a stainless steel steaming basket. This is the quickest and easiest way to prepare cooked vegetables. Just cut them in small pieces and put them in the basket. In 10-15 minutes (or much less depending on the vegetable), your veggies are crispy and their nutrients did not get dissolved in the water, nor heated up at too high temperatures such as in the oven. You can find a basket pretty much everywhere now, even on Amazon.
4. Eat frozen vegetables. If the idea of washing and cutting vegetables makes you cringe, frozen vegetables can be a great solution. They are already washed and cut, ready to be put in your steaming basket or your smoothie. According to studies, there is no significant difference between fresh and frozen products, so you won’t be missing out on anything, but rather saving time.
While we are at it, here’s a fun fact. Did you know that some vegetables are better eaten raw, while others are better eaten cooked? Here are some examples:
o Beets preserve more of their folate content if you eat them raw
o Mushrooms bring out more potassium when cooked
o Onions keep more of their allicin when eaten raw (though some people might be less pleased about you eating raw onions)
o Red bell peppers loose part of their vitamin C if heated to more than 190 degrees
o Cooked spinach will give you more calcium, iron and magnesium.
o Cooked tomatoes allow you to absorb more lycopene
o The beta-carotene in cooked carrots is easier to absorb
Make a simple investment in your health by eating your vegetables.
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