How to Eat More Vegetables

28 Feb

The USDA recommends that men and women between the ages of 19-30 eat between 2.5 and 3 cups of vegetables per day.

Let’s be honest, very few college students are actually reaching that number. We all know it’s important to eat our vegetables, but most of us find it difficult to fit them into our daily meals.

My mom’s a dietitian and I’m the first to admit I struggle with this (Sorry, mom). That’s why I’ve come up with some easy ways to sneak veggies into my diet. It’s been working for me, so I thought I’d share my tips with you!

Tips on eating more vegetables:

Lunch  –

  1. Throw fresh spinach into canned soup. It’ll wilt down when you heat it up, adding freshness to your soup and an extra serving of veggies.
  2. Add carrot shavings to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. People don’t believe me, but peanut butter and carrots actually go really well together. This is a great way to add a crunch to your sandwich and up your veggie count.
  3. Like buffalo chicken? Try mixing a low calorie blue cheese dressing and hot sauce to create a rich dipping sauce for celery and carrots. It’s the closest thing to making vegetables taste like meat.
  4. Bulk up your sandwiches. Every time you eat a sandwich, make sure to add tons of veggies. It’ll add nutrition and crunch to your lunch.

Snack  –

  1. Make your veggies accessible. Wash and cut them into snack size pieces right when you bring them home for the supermarket. Store them in a zip-lock bag or container for easy access. A big deterrent about snacking on veggies is that you need to prep them before you eat them. If you do this ahead of time, you’ll be more likely to grab them over a handful of chips.

Dinner  –

  1. When making pasta, throw extra peppers, onions or mushrooms into the sauce. It’ll add flavor and give you an extra hidden serving of vegetables.
  2. Keep your freezer stocked with frozen, steam-in-bag veggies. They’re great to go on the side of any dinner and are super easy.
  3. If your out for dinner, go for the eggplant parm. It may be smothered in cheese and sauce, but it’s better than a fried chicken cutlet smothered in cheese and sauce. Don’t judge, it still counts as a serving!
  4. Try a stir fry. They’re mainly comprised of vegetables  and they’ll leave you feeling satisfied.

Dessert –

  1. Two words – Carrot cake. It’s one of my favorite desserts and a great place to hide an extra serving of veggies. Make sure to pack it full of shredded carrots, raisins and walnuts. I wouldn’t call it healthy, but at least you’re eating your veggies.

I’m by no means a vegetarian, but I’m also not an idiot. Studies show that eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables may reduce my risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity, bone loss and diabetes. If veggies are they route to a healthy life, then I’m jumping on the veggie train. After all, who am I to argue with science?

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