Your mother was right: Eat your vegetables. This is one food group that is consistently and universally accepted as healthy. But many Americans struggle to get adequate servings of veggies into their daily life. I recommend aiming for 10 servings of veggies and fruits per day, with at least ⅔ of those servings coming from vegetables.
There’s really no way around consuming vegetables if you want to stay healthy. As Dr. Thomas Cowan, MD states in his book How & Why To Eat More Vegetables, “We can see that the plant world is a rich and abundant supply of the many nutrients and chemicals humans need to survive and thrive. These various nutrients are best consumed on a regular basis and derived from variety – in color, plant part and growth habitat of the plant. By emphasizing variety, we give ourselves and our families the best possible chance to live a disease-free and vital life.”
Here’s a few of my personal hacks for squeezing more servings into my day:
- Juice vegetables and roots and USE THE PULP to bake with. Drink the juice right away — it’s full of vitamins and minerals — but don’t toss the pulp! The pulp is naturally grain-free, anti-inflammatory, and chock-full of fiber. It works a lot like other grain-free flours, but you may need to add more eggs or other binders (like avocado or flax) to make it stick together well. You may need experiment a bit with optimal ratios to master this, but generally 1.5 -2 cups of pulp can added to a recipe in place of other grain-free flours. Here are a few examples of veggies that juice well: beets, carrots, celery, cucumber, swiss chard, romaine lettuce, zucchini, and sweet potatoes.
- Make Smoothies – It’s easy to squeeze between 3-5 servings of veggies into a green smoothie in the morning without noticing. If you have a more powerful blender like a Ninja or a Vitamix, you don’t really need to do much careful pre-chopping. Here’s some veggies that blend well: spinach, zucchini, swiss chard, kale, cucumber, mint, parsley, celery, broccoli, carrots, and cilantro. Bonus – you can use fresh or frozen in a smoothie.
- Use frozen veggies like spinach or kale in anything warm or blended – soups, stews, smoothies, eggs (thaw first for best results with eggs), etc. It shrinks down quickly, so you can squeeze in quite a lot.
- Consider chopped veggies for any snacks – baby carrots, celery, baby tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers make excellent dipping veggies in hummus or bean dips.
- Try using Dr. Cowan’s Garden vegetable powders. You may not get all the fiber of fresh veggies, but you get tons of nutrients. They’re concentrated and add some fantastic and unique flavors to cooking. These make it really easy to squeeze in more veggies into your meals (and your kid’s meals!). Genius products and my favorite life hack these days. Flavors vary by season and availability, but my personal 3 favorites are:
- Three-Beet Powder – it has a hint of bacon if you can believe it.
- Garden Leek Salt – high in vitamins and easy to add due to its subtle flavor
- Sea Vegetable Powder – great food source of iodine (for a healthy thyroid), and a great flavor addition to eggs.