7 Easy Ways To Get Veggies In Your Adult Day
"Eat your veggies!"
How often did you hear that phrase or something similar as a kid? Or how often do you tell your kids they need to eat their vegetables?
Usually, when we think of encouraging someone to eat their vegetables it is our kids. Many parents deal with picky eaters, so there is a lot of advice about how to sneak vegetables in children’s meals.
But have you ever been told as an adult to “eat yo’ veggies”? Have you ever thought about whether you eat enough vegetables every day?
When I was vegetarian--a nutrition plan you would assume was comprised of mostly vegetables--I maybe had vegetables at dinner time. And many of my clients have been told by their primary care provider they need to eat more vegetables. Even as adults, we don’t get all the vegetables we need.
In fact, only 1 out of 10 adults get the amount of fruits and veggies their bodies need for optimal performance each day!
Of course, we know eating vegetables is vitally important to good nutrition and to get our daily requirements of vitamins, minerals, and fiber our bodies need to thrive. But knowing the benefits--weight loss, lower blood pressure and blood sugar, reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, and increased immunity, to name a few--aren’t increasing our consumption of daily vegetables.
So how much should an adult have?
The USDA’s recommended daily intake of vegetables varies by age, sex, and level of activity. But on average it is 2 ½ cups for women and 3 cups for men. And this is cooked vegetables. So roughly double that for raw.
How do you compare? Think about your meals over the past couple of days. How many of them had vegetables?
My clients are often shocked when we evaluate how few vegetables they have had over the course of three days during an initial consult. And many times, clients choose to increase vegetable intake as one of their initial healthy habits to develop. It is a great one to choose.
So what are some ways to easily get more vegetables in every day?
7 Easy Ways to Get More Veggies in Your Day
Here are seven easy ways to get more vegetables in your day. You could use these ideas with your kids, too, but the focus here is on you.
One - Add veggies at breakfast.
Vegetables at breakfast? What!?! May sound like a crazy or unappealing thought for those of us who are used to a sugary and refined carb breakfast. Add vegetables can help you move away from having a dessert-like breakfast. Some ideas for veggies at breakfast:
leftovers from the night before, maybe some roasted Brussels sprouts or steamed green beans (that’s a favorite of Coach Sarah)
Saute some greens with your eggs, like kale or spinach
Simple mixed green salad
Two - Hide them in smoothies.
If you are a smoothie drinker, try adding a handful of spinach to your smoothie. You will hardly taste it. This is a frequent go-to for me. See my green smoothie recipe for an idea. Just be careful your smoothie isn’t sugar-heavy with lots of fruit or juice.
Three - Sub them out.
At lunch and dinner, substitute a vegetable for your grain or less nutrient-dense side such as rice, fries, pasta, corn, and potatoes. This substitute also lowers the calorie count of your dish. A note on potatoes: Potatoes aren’t evil. They are a great vegetable but if potatoes are the only vegetable you have, you need to expand your arsenal to include more nutrient-dense veggies. While we are discussing, corn is a grain, not a vegetable as commonly thought. Also try substituting veggies for breads, such as large lettuce leaves for burger buns or tortilla shells.
Four - Try them different ways.
To help increase your variety and better please your palate, try different methods of cooking vegetables-steamed, roasted, sauteed, baked, or boiled, Also, experiment with different international seasonings and flavors using Mexican, Indian, Asian, or Italian spices. Just adding balsamic or dijon can transform boring veggies into a treat. This may be especially helpful if you are bored with vegetables.
Five - Make them a snack!
When you have those mid-afternoon munchies, make your snacks veggie-focused. If you following 7Core on social media - Facebook and Instagram - you know I love my veggie snacks. Pretty much daily, I have a snack of raw carrots, peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers. I like the variety otherwise I would get bored eating the same one every day. Add some hummus if you want to dip your snack. It is super easy to prep a bunch of cut veggies at the beginning of the week to have at home or work to snack on during the day.
Six - Make them the star.
To help shift your focus to vegetables, consider making them the star, the VIP of your meal rather than the protein, which is most common. Think, “What protein will I have with my veggies?”, rather than the other way around. To help me incorporate plenty of veggies in my day, I’ve made it non-negotiable for every meal to have a green vegetable. I’ve made it a priority to eat green every meal.
Seven - Make it a game.
Have some fun with this. Count your servings of veggies for the week and see if you can beat that number next week. Or challenge yourself to try a new vegetable each week. You could also, round up some friends or family members and set up a competition to see who can eat more servings of veggies in a week.
How to Really Make it Happen
All these ideas are great but putting them into action is the hardest part. We really understand that at 7Core. Most people know what they need to do to be healthier and why they should do it. But we all struggle with how to make it happen our lives so it becomes a habit.
Here are some simple tips to make it happen:
Take a small amount of time to plan and set yourself up for success. Consider using the Weekly Meal Planner to plan out your veggies for the week.
Start small and build. No all or nothing mentality. Yes, three cups a day is ideal. But if you currently only eat one cup a day, you may need to start with a goal of two.
Use something to track your progress. The Healthy Habits Starter Guide is a great tool to create sustainability as you work on healthy habits.
Join our Eat Yo’ Veggies Challenge starting on Sunday, June 7th. It is free and goes for four weeks until July 4th. You’ll get an Eat Yo’ Veggie Tracking Calendar, a private Facebook group, support from all the coaches, weekly email encouragement, and a 30-minute consultation with a coach. This is all about helping you get more veggies into your adult life. If you want to join, click here to sign up. Share with a friend, too!
Here at 7Core, we wish you nothing but the best wellness and are committed to helping you overcome the struggles so you can maintain your healthy habits.
Let us know how we can best assist you.
To your best wellness,
Would like to work with Jen or learn more about healthy habits coaching with 7Core? Schedule a 20 minute complimentary consultation.