One of our newest Take Action activities—Time Out For Health—encourages participants to eat 300 servings of vegetables. To meet this goal faster, try working these tips into your day:
- Eat a serving at every meal. Add leftover veggies to your scrambled eggs, or start your day with avocado toast topped with tomato slices. For lunch, stuff your sandwich with a good half inch of extra greens like baby spinach, sprouts or sliced cucumbers, or toss chopped vegetables into your soup. Kick dinner off with a big salad (bonus: it will help you eat less later). Then serve the meal with a sweet potato and your favorite steamed veggie.
- Munch on them. Sugar snap peas, bell pepper strips, cherry tomatoes and sliced jicama make great snacks on their own or dipped in low-fat dressing or hummus.
- Hide them. Add finely chopped vegetables like zucchini or cauliflower to your sauces and soups, hide chopped spinach in your casseroles or add pureed vegetables to muffins you bake.
- Drink them. Green smoothies and juices are easy to make and a great way to get in more vegetables. Search for starter recipes online. Then experiment with popular ingredients like kale, carrots, cucumber, celery and baby spinach. Add a little fruit and you won’t even know you’re drinking vegetables. No time to blend? Go for 100% vegetable juices instead.
- Go meatless for one meal. Once a week, try a plant-based meal, such as a large entrée salad, pasta primavera, eggplant parmesan, a cashew and sweet pea stir-fry, or sweet potato and black bean tacos.
- Take shortcuts. Save time by buying prewashed lettuce, bagged salads and pre-chopped vegetables. You’ll pay a bit more, but studies show you’re more likely to eat them, too.
How much is a serving of vegetables? In most cases, a serving size is ½ cup of cooked vegetables (such as green beans, cauliflower and squash) or 1 cup of raw, leafy vegetables (such as lettuce, spinach and cabbage). A large meal-sized salad has five or more servings of vegetables!
To sign up for the Time Out For Health challenge—or to get more tips like these—visit ra.staywell.com.
Published: March 13, 2014