If you shy away from eating vegetables, these tricks will help you get your recommended daily servings and enjoy them, too. Here are some top tips on getting your 5-a-day, even if you don´t like vegetables. But a word of warning…pardon the puns!
- Vegetables Are “Grate” – “One of my favorite ways of sneaking vegetables into meals is to grate or dice carrots, celery, onions, and more, and put them in whatever you’re preparing for dinner,” says Ruth Frechman, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association who has a private practice in Burbank, Calif. Grated or diced vegetables work especially well in spaghetti sauce, meatloaf, tacos, soups, and stew recipes. When you throw extra vegetables in marinara sauce, for instance, you’re getting a double dose because marinara starts off with tomatoes, says Frechman.
- Hurray for Puree – You can make delicious hot or cold soups simply by pureeing vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, celery, asparagus, pumpkin and other squashes, and cauliflower. For an easy vegetable recipe, start with a bag of mixed frozen vegetables. Add just a tiny amount of butter, dry white wine, vegetable or chicken stock, and your favorite herbs and spices. “When you blend your mixture, it comes out creamy, so it’s a very rich-tasting soup,” Frechman says. You won’t even think you’re eating vegetables.
- Do the Salsa – “Lots of times, people don’t think of salsa as a vegetable,” Frechman says. “They love salsa, but don’t realize it’s good for them because it’s made from tomatoes, pepper, celery, onions, coriander and lime.” To avoid turning this into an unhealthy vegetable recipe, don’t scoop up your salsa with traditional tortilla chips. Choose healthier alternatives, such whole-grain crackers and vegetable choices, including carrot and celery sticks.
- Root for Roasted Vegetables – This great vegetable recipe doesn’t disguise veggies, but rather enhances them. Cut root vegetables (such as potatoes, squash, parsnip, and carrots) in chunks, coat them with a little olive oil, and roast them on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350 to 400 degrees for about half an hour. Roasting brings out their sweetness, so although you can still tell they’re vegetables, they taste so good no one will object, Frechman says. Season with a little curry or rosemary, and you’re not only getting nutrients from eating vegetables but also antioxidants from the spices.
- Give It Some Juice – Although juicing removes fiber, you’re still “eating” vegetables in a refreshing way. “One of my favorite juices is celery and green apple,” Frechman says. “Blended together, it’s the most gorgeous green. It’s so refreshing and has a delicious flavor.” What’s great about making this kind of vegetable recipe is that you can combine fruits and vegetables in one drink and get lots of nutrients in every swallow.
- Stuff It – When you’re making stuffing, replace a third of your bread cubes with cut-up vegetables that have been sautéed in a little olive oil. You can put almost any vegetable you want in a stuffing recipe — carrots, celery, onions, peppers, and squash, to name a few. “It’s a great way of adding vegetables and flavor to your dish and still letting stuffing be a feature of your meal,” Frechman says.
- Hit the Sauce – Pureed vegetables can make a great sauce for grilled chicken, fish, and even other vegetables. Try roasting red and yellow peppers until the skins are charred. Cool slightly, remove the black skin, and puree the peppers in a food processor with a little oil. Roasted peppers are so flavorful you probably won’t need any other ingredients in this vegetable recipe. Use it in place of ketchup for a great sugar-free alternative.
- Be a Smoothie Operator – The next time you’re making a fruit smoothie, add a few chunks of vegetables to your fruit base. Peeled, seeded, and diced cucumbers add a slight, refreshing tang and many nutrients. Try it in a fresh melon smoothie, along with a thickener like low-fat vanilla or plain yogurt. Other vegetables will blend better when cooked — experiment with chunks of rhubarb in a strawberry smoothie or carrots in a banana-mango combo.
- Go Green With Sandwiches – Eaten on a regular basis, dark green leafy vegetables have proven to have many health benefits — they’re anti-aging, cancer preventing, and heart-healthy. A good way to sneak dark green leafy vegetables into your diet is to put some spinach leaves or other greens on whole-grain bread sandwiches. Better yet, use wide-leaf lettuce like romaine to make your own wraps and skip the bread altogether.
- Cause a Stir With Stir-Fry – Another enjoyable way to get more vegetables in your diet is to make stir-fry vegetable recipes. It can be all vegetables or vegetables with protein, such as chicken or beef. The key to a successful stir-fry is a sizzling hot pan (you won’t need as much oil) and thinly sliced vegetables. Keep your vegetable mixture moving with a wooden spoon or spatula — that’s the stir in your stir-fry. You can serve the veggies in their own natural sauce or you can add teriyaki, vinegar, or sesame oil for more of a kick.
By Beth W. Orenstein
Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH
Taken from http://www.everydayhealth.com/
All content on this website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Always consult your own GP if you’re in any way concerned about your health.