ideas for eating more veggies

10 FRESH Ways to Add More Veggies to Your Family’s Meals

A common problem many of our community members face is making sure they are getting enough vegetables (and fiber) in their diets. Especially for those with picky eaters in the family, this can be a big challenge in eating a well-balanced diet plan long-term.

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The minimum amount of vegetables we should all be eating each day is 6-9 servings and yet so many times we don’t even get one or two in there. Adding veggies to your diet is easier than you might think - we’re giving you some realistic ideas that even the busiest family can use.

Here are 10 ideas you can try to get your family to eat more vegetables!

Plan & Prep Ahead of Time – Sometimes, it’s feeling like we have NO time (or energy) during the week that’s an obstacle to eating enough vegetables throughout the day. Take just a few minutes before the busyness of the week even starts, and make an effort to prepare veggies for quick use during the week. (Visit here for the convenient + free guide from Coach Bess on planning your weekly meals!)

Cut up and package your veggies in bags or containers ahead of time.

At meal time, pull them out and enjoy them with hummus or in a quick wrap. Or, make meal time easier with ready-cut vegetables, easily throw in a salad or cook into a dish. Another idea is to pre-bake or roast a pan of veggies and place in a glass storage container. Pull them out and reheat easily for a wonderful side dish later on!

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Low-Sodium Soups – Many people don’t eat vegetables because they can’t get past the consistency of them. Try sipping your veggies in soup form by first cooking, then pureeing them into a soup. Or, you can make a broth-based version and cook vegetables to your desired personal texture. Make your own soups or look for low-sodium versions at the store. Tomato, Garden (mixed) Vegetable or Broccoli soup are just a few choices in a large array of them!

Don’t be Afraid to Try New Things – Once a week (or even month), pick a new vegetable you’ve never tried before. You can add it to a favorite recipe you already make or look for different ways to cook it. Even if you don’t like some of them, keep trying! I’m willing to bet you’ll find 1 or 2 (or more) veggies you DO enjoy!

Brighten Things Up – Add vegetables with lots of color to your plate, especially salads. Here are some colorful veggies that taste great and are full of vitamins and minerals your body needs. Liven things up a bit because when your food LOOKS good it tastes better too. Here are a few colorful ideas:

    • Acorn Squash

    • Red Cabbage

    • Cherry Tomatoes

    • Sweet Potatoes

    • Black Beans

    • Red, Orange, and Yellow Bell Peppers

    • Radishes

    • Watercress

Save Time – Fresh or frozen vegetables can be cooked quicker in the microwave if time is an issue that stops you from eating more veggies with dinner. You can steam them by adding them to a bowl with a bit of water for a quick side dish to any meal. Frozen veggies (make sure the label is the veggie ONLY and not other things added) are a great option when fresh is too costly or just not available.

Order Extra When Eating Out – Instead of a fried side dish or appetizer order a second veggie side or small salad when dining out.

Eat What’s In Season – To save money and get the best tasting veggies, buy and eat specific veggies when they are in season. Sprouts, Trader Joe’s and Farmers Markets often have a fresh selection of seasonal choices. Your regular grocer should as well, and often has organic or locally grown to choose from, sometimes at same or similar price.

Fresh is Best, but Frozen Is Good Too – If you can’t find fresh veggies or have picky eaters who prefer canned over fresh, meet them in the middle and buy frozen. Peas, corn, spinach, broccoli, snap peas, and even cauliflower rice - as well as other frozen veggies - are great additions to lots of meals and make for quick and easy side dishes.

Canned Veggies – While not the best choice, (always choose fresh or frozen first if possible) there are some canned veggies such as tomatoes, beans (kidney, garbanzo), etc. that are FRESH Start-approved to use in meals. If you’re picking battles and it means the only way to get vegetables into your family’s bellies, go for it. Just remember to buy reduced, low or no-sodium (salt) and rinse beans well before cooking!

Play Hide & Seek – Or just “hide!” If you’re like me, you’ve got picky eaters who sometimes just refuse to eat vegetables. It’s fun to find ways to hide them in foods they do like to eat. Examples are Smoothies, spaghetti sauce, chili, & muffins.

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You don't have to try all of these at once. Pick one or two and begin putting those into action - small steps create lasting results! Before you know it, your body will be asking you to eat even more and you can add a few more ideas from the list.

Need some new ideas on how to make meals with more vegetables?

Here are a few quick & easy ones we think you might like:

Healthy Vegetable Side Dishes

How to Make Greens 3 Easy Ways

Grill Your Veggies for Healthy Benefits + Recipes

Then join the conversation in our FRESH Start Club and {free} #52weeksofhealthyhabits Experience for more good stuff on this, and other healthy-lifestyle small steps!