September 17, 2014
How to Upgrade Your Diet.
Today I want to show you how to upgrade your diet. The average American takes in 2.7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day…even though the recommendation is 7-9, . That means most of us have some work to do in the veggie department, so I’m going to share some tips and tricks today to make it easier than ever to do just that. That
If you only do one thing for your health, body and weight, UPGRADE your diet by eating more vegetables!
Eating lots of vegetables has been one of the keys to losing 20 pounds and keeping it off, rarely getting sick, and having the clearest skin of my life!
Vegetables give our bodies health-promoting, beauty-boosting, disease-reducing vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants that help us stay well, energized, and looking and feeling our best.
I was a SUPER picky eater until my early 20s when a life-changing semester abroad in Spain essentially forced me to try foods I had avoided for most of my life.
My husband, Bill, was also a picky eater when we started dating eight years ago.
He was what we could call a “veggie hater.”
The only vegetables he ate at the time were iceberg lettuce and carrots.
Fast forward to today, and he and I both enjoy everything from roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower mashed potatoes to sautéed Swiss chard, kale salads, and even collard green wraps!
If you feel stuck and aren’t sure how to boost your veggie intake, learn How to Upgrade Your Diet!
1) Eat more of what you like already. Pinpoint specifically what you like about the vegetables you already eat. My husband decided that he liked crunchy vegetables, so I gave up the idea of introducing cooked zucchini and suggested sliced red peppers or raw onions instead. If certain textures bother you, think about the vegetables you like and the next time you go to the store, pick out one other similar vegetable and try it.
2) Pick Your Own. Whether you’re trying to get your husband, wife or kids to eat more vegetables, involving them in the process is key. The next time you go to the grocery store, let them loose in the produce section and ask them to pick out 1-2 vegetables they want to try. Sometimes it can take 7+ times trying a food until we like it. Be patient.
3) Meal Plan Together. Sometimes we refuse to try something because of how it looks or how we think it will taste. One of the ways to remedy this is to sit down with your spouse and/or kids and make an activity out of searching through Pinterest or other websites like 100 Days of Real Food or Super Healthy Kids for veggie-centered recipes they want to try.
4) Take a Field Trip. There’s nothing like getting up close and personal with your food to make you more excited about eating it. Go on a field trip with your family to a local farmer’s market or u-pick farm. Go to www.localharvest.org to find one near you. This is a great way to meet and support your local farmers, learn about new vegetables, and even try samples as you wander around the market. Plan to make one farmer’s market-centered meal each week and let everyone in your family pick one ingredient for the meal.
5) Make It Fun. Kids (and even adults!) like to play with food. The bottom line? If something is fun, we are way more likely to do it! That includes eating more vegetables.
- Have a make-your-own veggie face contest. Cut up a bunch of different vegetables and give everyone an empty plate. Have a contest to see who can make the funniest/goofiest/best face out of food.
- Make believe your food is something else. When I was a kid, I used to sprinkle Parmesan cheese on broccoli and pretend it was “snow” on the trees. It got me to eat broccoli. Try ants on a log (sub in almond butter for a new twist!), sticks in the sand (veggie sticks in hummus), or green cucumber boats (seeded and then stuffed with guacamole or salsa).
- Give your food fun super hero names OR learn one reason to eat that food. I guarantee you that a lot more kids ate spinach to grow big and strong when Popeye was around because it was the cool thing to do. We can do the same for veggies today – whether it’s a Green Monster smoothie, Green Machine dip, or Carrot Crusader, find ways to make veggies supercharged and exciting to get your kids to eat them.
- Start an herb or vegetable garden. Kids who grow their own food are more likely to eat it because they like eating what they create. You can start with some simple window pots.
6) Blend It Up! One of the easiest ways for us to boost our vegetable intake is through smoothies. Start by using mostly fruits and adding in just a little bit of vegetables at a time. Baby spinach and romaine lettuce have very mild flavors and are practically tasteless, but they will make smoothies green (or brown if blended with berries). Try throwing in half of a carrot for some sweetness or just a couple spinach leaves to start.
7) Roast them. If you’ve sworn off certain vegetables, I encourage you to try roasting them before calling it quits. Roasting vegetables is simple and brings out deep, sweet, rich flavors. Chop up your veggies into roughly the same sized pieces, toss them in some oil, and then mix in your favorite herbs, spices, salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet in the oven at 400F for 20-25 minutes for softer or more delicate veggies (like summer squash, Brussels sprouts, broccoli) or 35-45 minutes for tougher veggies (root veggies like carrots, winter squash, potatoes). Toss them every 10-12 minutes to ensure even cooking and no burning.
8) Scramble! Sauté your favorite veggies in a skillet (onions, garlic, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, and peppers…whatever you have on hand!), crack two eggs in the pan, add some seasonings and scramble it up for an easy, healthy one-pot meal full of veggie goodness.
9) Add them to soups, stews, and chilis. As the fall approaches, these are great ways to add more veggies to your diet. If you have a crockpot, use it to save yourself some time. Dice up whatever vegetables you have on hand and either toss them in to a soup, stew or chili.
10) Puree Away! When we made lentil soup the other night, we pureed some chickpeas, lemon and garlic in the food processor and then stirred it in to the soup at the end of cooking to thicken it. You can upgrade soups and sauces by blending in steamed and pureed carrots, pumpkin, cauliflower or other vegetables. No one will notice! And now you know How to Upgrade Your Diet.
Which of those ideas will you try this week? We here at Nava Center hope you that you loved this article. Contact us today.
Do you have any other tips or tricks for how to upgrade your diet with more veggies?
Feel free to share below!