You hear it all the time: “Eat your vegetables”. While it may seem like a simple undertaking, we all know that that is easier said than done.
Research has shown that nearly 90% of Americans do not eat the recommended 2–3 cups of vegetables per day. Many view vegetables as bland, boring and, quite frankly, unappetizing. But they don’t have to be.
Vegetables, especially those from the crucifer family (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage) and allium family (garlic, onions, leeks, green onions, shallots, red onion) are incredibly rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer. It is hard to overestimate the importance of including a minimum of 5 servings of vegetables into your diet per day.
4 ways to incorporate more vegetables into a diet, even if you don’t love them:
Smoothies are a great way to start your day with an easy 2 servings of vegetables. Baby spinach or baby kale are an easy addition of potent vegetables that when combined with a non-dairy milk, frozen fruit and a nut butter, are “hidden” from your tastebuds while still providing incredible health benefits.
Broccoli, cauliflower, and finely chopped kale are easily added to tomato sauce that can be poured over pasta or as part of a curry. A light steam or sauté after cutting your veggies into small pieces will make them all but undetectable in your pasta or curry meal.
Onions and garlic (the allium family) are great flavor enhancers that, when sauteed at the beginning of meal prep, enhance flavor beautifully while providing incredible health benefits. The key is to chop them finely and sauté thoroughly.
Salads can be fun and very rich in vegetables. A healthy lettuce like arugula is a nice base, but add finely sliced red cabbage, green onions (or sauteed red onions), sliced carrots, some baby kale, ripe tomatoes and avocado, and you have a satisfying meal that provides easily 3 to 4 servings of vegetables. Top with some ground flax, toasted almonds or hemp seeds to boost protein and fat content.
Source: Dr. Vikki Petersen, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Chiropractor and Functional Medicine doctor
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