My motto for this year, when it comes to my health, has been “more”. Instead of cutting back on the things that aren’t super healthy, I have decided to focus instead on adding in more things that make me feel better and healthier. Adding in more has given me more energy, helped me feel more comfortable in my body and improved my lifestyle. I kept it simple and focused on what I could do, instead of what I could cut out. I opted for more self care, more workouts that I enjoy, more superfoods and much, much more vegetables.I honestly felt weighed down in my body and lethargic in my energy for the second half on 2016. Once I started taking care of myself, through food and fitness, I felt better immediately. I had slacked a bit in the vegetable department while pregnant and taking care of a newborn. I relied on packaged foods, but not any with vegetables.
I knew beating myself up and restricting my diet wasn’t going to help. I’d just feel guilty and stressed, instead of energized and stress-free. So I kept my diet the same, but added in more vegetables wherever I could. Rather than just eat a ton of salads or vegetables side dishes (which I love and definitely included), I also looked for other ways to easily add vegetables into my daily routine.
I knew I had to keep it simple, delicious and a bit out of the box.
Here are my top 3 Ways to Eat More Vegetables:
Adding vegetables to your smoothies is an easy way to eat way more vegetables than you could in a salad. I have always been a smoothie fan. I made smoothie packs to stock my freezer before my baby was born, I drank one every day for years and I even wrote a smoothie book. Even so, I didn’t make much last year. My pre-made packs got freezer burn, the blender was really loud and I had a million excuses. Once I decided I didn’t have to make them every day, but could have one whenever I wanted, it became easy to blend one up and get a huge dose of nutrients.
Blending breaks down your vegetables, so you not only release more nutrients and enzymes, but you also make everything easier to digest. Some vegetables have a pretty strong tastes, but others, like spinach, are packed with nutrients and don’t change your smoothie flavor at all. Try adding a handful of spinach to your smoothie, or blending in some frozen peas, broccoli, herbs such as mint or basil, zucchini, squash or cucumbers. Balance it out with a little sweetness from banana and citrus, and you’ll have a fantastic smoothie to start your day.
Making veggie heavy soup is also an easy way to eat more vegetables. A big batch of soup is one of my favorite ways to eat vegetables and have a meal ready in minutes. I like to make large batches to freeze or store for the week, so I can have soup whenever I need it. It is so easy to make and lasts for a long time.
This usually requires cooking them before you blend them, so you can use heartier vegetables. Carrots and squash are fantastic bases for soup and blend easily when steamed. Add in some steamed onion, garlic, grated ginger and broth or coconut milk for a simple, healthy vegetable soup. This makes a great meal or snack.
You can also add some veggies to a pot with ground beef, throw in some canned tomatoes and some broth (chicken or beef works well), and you have a heartier veggie-based soup. It might not be completely plant-based, but it follows the “more” principles, without feeling like you are deprived.
Baked goods can be one of the tastiest and most fun ways to eat more vegetables. I love baking and love adding fruit, like bananas or berries, to my breads and muffins. I make often these quite often, since they are super healthy, allow me to have breakfast in seconds and taste fantastic. But recently I wanted something with more vegetables than fruit for nutrients and vitamins.
I thought about creating a recipe, but then I found Garden Lites Chocolate (and Carrot!) muffins at the freezer section of my local Publix store. I have had their souffles in the past, and used to buy them for my lunches when I worked in an office. They were an easy dairy-free option, so I always knew I could eat them and feel good after, due to some dairy sensitivities. Even though I was a huge fan of the brand, I had never tried the chocolate, or even the carrot, muffins.
The chocolate muffins are 33% vegetables. They are loaded with zucchini and carrots, as well as tons of other healthy ingredients, but you’d never know. They taste like a more indulgent chocolate muffin or brownie but have way more vegetables in them. They are also gluten-free and dairy-free, which is a plus for me.
This was by far the easiest and tastiest option for eating more vegetables.
Here is exactly why I love these so much:
- Garden Lites products are veggie rich, with vegetables being the first and primary ingredient in all products.
- Garden Lites provide a convenient, more enjoyable and easier way to eat your vegetables.
- Made of clean and simple ingredients
- Products are gluten, dairy-free and nut free
I found my Garden Lites Muffins at Publix. You can find yours in the freezer section of your nearest Publix, Stop & Shop, Giant, Shop-Rite, HEB, Kroger or Costco. They are perfect to store in your freezer at home or at work, so you know you’ll always have a healthy snack or meal on hand. I like to eat these as a snack with a cup of tea or for a super quick, out-the-door, breakfast. They give me energy, but also feel like a treat. It’s a great balance to my diet, and to my lifestyle.
Challenge yourself to think our of the box and try adding more vegetables to your diet. Grab a chocolate zucchini muffin and never look back. Once you start to feel better, you start to add in more and more things that support that feeling, and your healthy lifestyle continues to grow. Without cutting anything out or any guilt.