We all know eating vegetables is important for our health, but when you’re really hungry and craving something hearty or cheesey or carby, sometimes a kale salad doesn’t exactly hit the spot. Even for those who enjoy eating veggies, it can seem challenging to hit the recommended five-ish servings every single day. The good news? It’s a lot easier than you think. Here are four simple, creative ways to add more vegetables to your diet.
1. Blend Them Up
Blending or pureeing vegetables not only makes it easier to consume more of them in one sitting, it also allows you to add a creamy consistency to foods without using cream, butter, or other high-fat dairy products.
A handful of nutritious spinach or kale blends well with pretty much any fruit smoothie.
Veggie-packed tomato sauce is super easy to make, but you can get even more creative if you want! If you’re an alfredo lover, try making a creamy cauliflower sauce: boil cauliflower florets until tender and then throw them in a blender (or use an immersion blender) with some lemon juice, garlic, splash of skim or almond milk, and seasonings.
Tomatoes, squash, cauliflower, peppers, pumpkin, mushrooms, zucchini, peas, spinach, potatoes, asparagus – the possibilities are endless when it comes to soup. Blend up a combination of veggies with a little stock or water, and add whatever protein or seasonings float your boat.
2. Pretend They’re Pasta
If you don’t have a spiralizer yet, do you even cook? Just kidding… but seriously, zoodles are life. Zucchini, carrots, and sweet potatoes are our favorite veggies to spiralize for hot or cold dishes. Spaghetti squash is another great option – try making a delicious baked spaghetti with your veggie-packed tomato sauce, a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese, and some ground italian turkey sausage. Yum!
3. Bake With Them
You can make all sorts of tasty desserts that are secretly packed with veggies, from chocolate zucchini bundt cake to sweet potato doughnuts to avocado brownies. Pinterest is your friend!
4. Turn Them Into Condiments
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but oftentimes if you try to jazz up a meal with store-bought condiments, you end up adding a big bomb of extra salt, fat, and sugar. Skip the Hidden Valley and make your own condiments so you know exactly what’s in them – and sneak in some nutrition.
Mash up an avocado with some extra virgin olive oil or Dijon mustard, and spread it on your sandwich instead of mayo. Looking for a cheaper option? Pureed roasted red peppers or artichoke hearts can also make a great spread.
Any other pickle fiends out there? Fermented veggies like pickles, kimchi, and sauerkraut are super good for your gut and can add some extra zing to pretty much any dish. It’s also really easy to make your own refrigerator pickles with veggies like green beans, asparagus, red onions, peppers, or beets.
Nutrient-rich greens like spinach and kale can be made into a yummy pesto for sandwiches, pasta, roasted vegetables, or meats. You can also create a ton of different plant-based dressings by using pureed roasted veggies in place of oils.
When you start incorporating more veggies into your diet, you’ll feel fuller on fewer calories. What are some of your ways to sneak more vegetables into your meals? Share your tips with us on Facebook and Instagram!
Want More Nutrition Advice?
When you join Envision Fitness for personal training or boot camp classes, we offer nutrition coaching for free because we want you to succeed! Whether you’re already a member or new to our gym, we encourage you to take advantage of this service at any point during your training. If you’d like, you may even begin with nutrition coaching before starting a fitness program. Contact us today to get started!