9 more tips to increase vegetables in your diet (+free chart)
How to eat more vegetables? Snacking vegetables when preparing meals is a great start. But… To expand on the idea of eating more vegetables use the first week to educate yourself about a variety of vegetables.
Week 1: Education & Awareness
Go for Variety
By choosing a variety of vegetables your body will get the blend of nutrients that it needs. Dark leafy greens and veggies that have a rich red, orange, or yellow color are excellent sources of phytonutrients.
Click on the link and download the FREE Rainbow of colorful vegetables chart!
Although all vegetables are likely to contribute to your health, green leafy vegetables (spinach & Swiss chard), cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, bokchoy, Brussels sprouts, and kale) (and their juices) make important contributions.
Fibrous versus starchy
Limit the intake of starchy vegetables like potatoes or corn. They are digested more quickly than fibrous veggies and tend to be higher in calories.
Eat more vegetables: Vary between raw and cooked
Try to use your vegetables fully whenever possible. The outer skin contains the best nutrients.
A change between raw food and cooked food is the best method to consume the greatest amount of valuable nutrients in their full bioavailability. An important aspect is that heating destroys some nutrients, especially vitamins.
Additionally, fiber and sometimes flavonoids are better maintained in raw veggies. For example, beta-carotene is more available to your body only after cooking. Therefore, eating your veggies at least one time cooked and one time raw per day is best.
Vegetable Recipe Inspirations
On this website you’ll find a whole bunch of clean eating recipes based on plant food. In the following I’ll share a few of them which are especially quick and easy to prepare:
- Broccoli salad
- Brussels sprouts, roasted
- Cabbage salad with carrots and pineapples
- Cucumber salad
- Endive salad
- Fennel salad
- Kohlrabi celeriac soup
- Parmesan roasted carrots
- Parsley root soup
- Radish salad
- Red beet burger
- Red cabbage salad with apples
- Savoy Cabbage Chips
- Vegetable soup
Cooking Tips to preserve some nutrients
Overcooking especially boiling will destroy crispness (texture), some nutrients and the color of the vegetables. To protect the nutrients decrease the cooking time and broil, steam, microwave or cook in a small amount of water.
Also, avoid watering or blanching (short heating in boiling water) as this process is leaching out minerals. If you have to soak vegetables, use the soaking water too for your soup, stews or other meals. Serve foods immediately. The longer they stand, the more nutrients are gone.
Week 2: Lower risk and maximize taste!
Each vegetable contains a real treasure – but the risk of pesticides is real. However, the health benefits of a diet rich in vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.
If you are unable to invest in clean, organic food, the lowest risk occurs when you vary vegetables that grow under and above the earth. Eat one portion of fruiting vegetables (tomato, eggplant), then leafy vegetables (endive, spinach) and then roots (carrots, leeks) or cole crops (cabbage, kale). Today eat cucumbers, tomorrow red beets, then lettuce then radish. By balancing the sources of your produce, you will equalize positive and negative effects.
Savor depends on season
Particularly rich in vitamins and phytonutrients are regional vegetables. They are usually harvested at the optimum stage of maturity without long transport routes.
Did you know that all-season vegetables taste different depending on the season? Red beet, white cabbage or red cabbage are more tender in summer than in autumn or winter-time. Try out what kind of vegetables you prefer in which month.
Week 3: Increase quantity
Try to consume in your third week at least 3-5 servings of fibrous veggies per day! One serving is equivalent to 1 cup of leafy vegetables or ½ cup of non-leafy vegetables.
9 Tips to increase vegetables in your diet
By now you should have a rough idea how to eat more vegetables. But there is more…
Get here 9 additional tips:
- Keep cleaned vegetables (carrots, radishes) in the refrigerator – ready to eat. In order to keep them fresh longer, remove the leaves and store them in containers or Ziploc bags.
- Start each lunch/dinner with a vegetable soup, raw vegetables or salad.
- View veggies as a centerpiece of your nutrition. Explore its savory potential. Add them to your favorite casseroles, stews and soups. It’s not hard to incorporate carrots or cabbage to your favorite pasta sauces.
- Add onions, lettuce, tomatoes and/or peppers to your sandwiches
- Have celery stalks, cucumber or cooked broccoli with low-fat dip (hummus, cream) as a snack.
- Explore a new vegetable of the season each month and try out different preparation options. This will expand the horizon of your taste. Here is an easy Kale recipe for you: Wash the leaves, rub the leaves in olive oil or tahini (sesame paste) and cook them for five minutes with garlic, olive oil, and broth. Or try my delicious Kale pesto pasta.
- Create a folder and collect your favorite recipes. Explore online recipe websites such as epicurious.com etc. After two years you will have learned the regional vegetable supply. Those who love it may want to continue with vegetable specialties and exotic produce.
- In restaurants look mindfully after vegetables in season and try them out. When ordering a pizza, choose veggie toppings.
- Downshift potatoes. Choose other vegetables that are packed with more nutrients and more slowly digested carbs. Try sweet potatoes that have a lower glycemic index than regular potatoes.
Are you already a vegetable expert?
Are you already eating 4-6 servings of fibrous vegetables per day? Take it to the next level. Consume at least one serving of vegetables from each color of the rainbow every day.
Tell me your strategies to eat more vegetables
What are your strategies to eat more vegetables? Feel free to post your veggie tips or best healthy vegetable recipes below in the comments. If you have a favorite website with quick and easy healthy vegetable recipes, please let us know too.