By Kathryn McLean
Are you making New Year’s resolutions this year? I notice people often making resolutions, or goals, around their diets.Not necessarily to start a weight-loss diet, but to change what they eat. Less meat, fewer carbs, less junk food. More vegetables.
Adding more vegetables to your diet is likely easier than you think. And nearly everyone can stand to eat more vegetables. Even vegetarians.
Yes, vegetarians don’t eat meat, but that doesn’t mean they only eat fresh salads. Like everyone else, we eat too many carbs like bread, pasta and pizza. Not to mention chips and other “treats.”
So how do you eat more vegetables without making a salad at every turn? Start by adding more vegetables to the foods you already enjoy. When you prepare something to eat, ask yourself, can I add any veggies to this?
If you have eggs for breakfast, add tomatoes, onions, spinach, peppers, mushrooms or avocado. You can mix the veggies into a scramble, tuck them into an omelette or serve them on the side.
How about adding vegetables to a simple toast breakfast? Mash or slice avocado on toast (or crackers, rice cakes or flatbreads). Include a few slices of fresh tomato, some fresh herbs like cilantro, basil or parsley, or even cold leftovers like roasted peppers, mushrooms or zucchini.
When you make your usual lunch sandwich, don’t stop once you’ve assembled a classic ham and cheese or turkey with mustard.
Sandwiches are an opportunity to easily add fresh vegetables such as lettuce and other greens like kale, spinach, chard, arugula and even leafy herbs. Include tomato slices as well as cucumber, peppers, mushrooms, and leftover cooked veggies from the fridge.
Try some vegetarian sandwiches made with both cooked and raw vegetables with hummus or cheese. Add other spreads and dips like pesto or baba ganoush. Marinated vegetables make great additions to sandwiches, too. Think of sundried tomatoes, kimchi, pickles, olives, spicy eggplant and jarred cabbage salad.
How about dinners you already enjoy? Burgers, tacos and lettuce wraps can hold a few more veggies. Sure tomato and lettuce are great, but what about cooked or raw greens, peppers or mushrooms? Add corn, peas and leafy herbs to your tacos. Shred some cabbage and use it as a topping, too.
Include a chopped salad alongside rice and skewered meats. Make a side salad to go with pasta, roasted chicken or meat-and-potatoes meals.
Toss a few vegetables into the pan when you stir fry chicken, meat or shrimp for dinner. Frozen peas or corn, chopped broccoli, sliced carrots, celery (including the leaves), mushrooms, zucchini and peppers will all cook quickly.
And add vegetables to dishes you already enjoy, like chili, soups and stews. Include sweet potato, zucchini, corn, peppers or cauliflower in your chili. Add a few slices of carrots and celery or a handful of peas to basic chicken noodle soup. Add mushrooms and parsnips to your stew.
Include vegetables when you top (or order!) a pizza.
Once you start thinking about adding vegetables to your meals, it will probably be easier than you thought.