Do you get at least 5 servings of vegetables every day? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The truth is, most adults struggle to consistently get the nutrients our bodies need.
But if you're committed to optimizing your health and could do with an energy boost, then increasing your vegetable consumption is a must.
Studies have shown that a high vegetable intake unlocks a number of health benefits. If you hit the magic number of 5 servings a day, you'll maintain a healthier weight, reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure, and even strengthen your immune system.
There's no better food-based medicine than the vegetable, but busy lives, rushed meals, and maybe even picky eating habits have been known to get in the way.
If you’re looking for ways to reliably ensure you’re getting enough vegetables each day, consider these seven easy tricks:
This is as simple as it gets, and it’s a great way to ensure you’re enjoying the extra vegetables you’re eating. Sure, maybe your favorite meals are perfect the way they are, but you need to get extra servings of veggies somehow.
You can add a layer of sliced zucchini to your favorite lasagna, or stir broccoli into a mac and cheese recipe. Nobody wants to completely cut unhealthy meals out of their diet, so this solution is a great middle ground. You can have your comfort foods while also ensuring that you’re not ignoring your greens.
Bonus points if you’re able to incorporate a veggie you don’t typically enjoy. Why force yourself to eat vegetables you don’t like when you can hide them in a dish you love?
Mushrooms are more versatile than many people realize. Did you know that cooked chopped mushrooms can be used to replace some of the ground meat required in many recipes?
Burgers, meatballs, and meatloaf are all popular foods that make use of ground meat, but up to half of the meat in those meals can be replaced with mushrooms without drastically changing the end result.
Start by finely chopping up your favorite mushrooms and follow by sautéing them in some olive oil. It only takes a few minutes, and then they're ready to add to ground beef, chicken, or turkey. The result is a delicious meal that looks and tastes the same but now packs a much-needed vegetable punch.
It’s no secret that cheese-heavy dishes aren’t usually the most healthy. While there’s nothing wrong with a little cheese in your diet, you have to watch how much you consume and what you’re eating with it.
If you're a cheese lover, you'll love to hear that some vegetables can be substituted for cheese in certain dishes. Once cooked and pureed, carrots, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash can be blended into your favorite cheese-heavy dishes.
While this option doesn't completely replace cheese, less cheese will be used and you'll cut down on sodium and saturated fats. It’s the perfect compromise.
This may actually be the sneakiest way to introduce more vegetables into your diet. Picky eaters in your family will be none the wiser if you make use of this trick. You can use a box grater - or a grating attachment for a food processor if you have it - to shred carrots, beets, zucchini, and more for easy additions to so many recipes.
Whenever it comes time to mix ingredients, just go ahead and include some veggies. It’s simple and the vegetables will be broken up enough that you might not even notice they’re there.
When we covered the many ways you can add fiber to baked goods, we noted that vegetables are an option. If you’re the type of person whose sweet tooth is too strong to resist, then this is a great way to get the vegetables your body needs.
If you have any recipes that call for add-ins, get creative and see what tastes good. Zucchini is a popular choice, but don't be afraid to experiment with your favorite vegetables. There's no wrong way to add vegetables to your baked goods when you're enjoying the tasty - and healthy - finished products.
One of the best things about soups and sauces is that the broth or the sauce can hide the flavors of other ingredients. It's easy enough to add veggies to soups, whether you're making it fresh or going with something canned. Just add raw or frozen vegetables while you're cooking the soup or heating it up.
A soup’s broth tends to overpower the vegetables, permeating them and changing their flavor. You can really pack the vegetables in to ensure you’re getting enough in your diet.
The same can be said for sauces, and especially spaghetti sauce. Mushrooms, onions, eggplant, zucchini, or even yellow squash all go well with spaghetti sauce. Chop the vegetables up nice and small, and you can hardly tell they're there.
If you’re making either of these options for dinner, there’s no excuse for not having some extra veggies tucked into your meal.
This tip is perfect for those days where you simply don’t have time to make a meal, let alone decide how you’re going to add veggies to it. Juices and smoothies are simple, tasty, nutritious, and can be taken on the go so there’s never a need to slow down.
When you're making your go-to fruit smoothie, it's so easy to add in some veggies (cooked vegetables are easier to blend). Make sure to include a banana or another strong fruit flavor to mask the taste of the vegetables you add.
The best way to add vegetables to a juice or smoothie - or any meal for that matter - is with Smart Pressed Juice’s Organic Pressed Greens!
Our new and improved greens are perfect for anyone who struggles to get enough vegetables on a daily basis. Each scoop packs in over 20 superfoods and other organic ingredients that will vault you toward better health.
Don't settle for vegetables you don't enjoy or green juices that taste like grass clippings. There's a science to this, which is why we've included delicious hints of pineapple, apple, citrus, and carrots to ensure each sip you take is packed with flavor.
If you were only going to make one change to your health, it should be drinking this greens juice each day - or adding it to your favorite smoothies and recipes.