According to the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the average adult’s recommendation for vegetables is 2-3 cups every day. In a study done by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it was discovered that less than 9% of Americans actually reach that goal. This shockingly low statistic begs the question: how can we improve? We know how important eating enough fruits and vegetables is in lowering our risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Let’s consider some ways that we can sneak more veggies into our diet without having to make big sacrifices in flavor.
- Add leafy greens to your fruit smoothie. The fruit juices will disguise the taste of spinach and even kale, especially if you add a little bit of orange juice.
- Top your omelet with colorful vegetables. Think spinach, peppers, tomatoes, onions- all of which just enhance your eggy experience.
- Ever heard of pumpkin pancakes? They are quite delicious and the pumpkin puree can add a serving of veggies without sacrificing a yummy breakfast.
- Add variety to your normal side salad. With lettuce as your base, try a taco salad with tomato and avocado one day and for the next, add some apple slices and craisins to your greens to get some fruit in there as well.
- Love a good grilled cheese? Slather some pesto on the bread, add tomato and avocado on top of your cheese, and now you’ve got a healthier and a gourmet sandwich!
- If you’re a big pasta person- you don’t have to commit to eating a salad for every dinner to meet your veggie goal. Make your favorite pasta and sauce, then add veggies on top: peas, corn, broccoli or spinach.
- Yes you can even incorporate some of those 2-3 cups of veggies into a yummy treat. For example, zucchini bread. Still sweet enough to satisfy the sweet tooth.
- Learn about some healthy substitutions for baking. You can switch out avocado for butter or use applesauce instead of oil.
As a rule of thumb, strive to get a rainbow of colors in your fruits and vegetables. This will ensure a wide variety of nutrients. Vegetables are low in calories and fat and can help you maintain a healthy blood pressure. Try implementing a few of these suggestions in your diet to get up to that goal of 2-3 cups a day!