24 Easy Ways To Eat More Vegetables
We all have different dietary preferences, intolerances and ways of eating that work better for our individual bodies, but one thing we can all agree on is that we could all benefit from eating more vegetables. They truly are the foundation of a healthy diet!
Vegetables contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep you well and feeling your best, along with plenty of fibre to support your gut health and keep you full. The NHS and Harvard School of Public Health say that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can lower your blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect on blood sugar.
But are we eating enough veg throughout the day? Probably not. According to the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of adults in the U.S. meeting fruit and vegetable intake recommendations is low. In fact, only 10% were getting their quota of veggies in 2019!
Besides eating enough vegetables, it’s also important to consume a variety of vegetables (eating the rainbow is always great advice), as they each contain different nutrients for optimal health. If you know your diet probably isn’t as nutritious as it could be but are wondering how to eat more vegetables, here are 24 ideas to get you started.
Blending vegetables into a smoothie is one of the easiest ways to sneak more servings into your day. Spinach, kale and cucumber are fantastic options for greens, avocado can add extra creaminess, or you could even have steamed or roasted pumpkin as the base for a delicious pumpkin pie inspired smoothie.
With eggs as the base for your omelette, you’ve got plenty of options to spice things up. Go-to veggie options include spinach, mushrooms, red onion and bell peppers, but feel free to add whatever takes your fancy.
3. Breakfast hash
Paired with eggs and greens, cubed sweet potatoes make a delicious base for a hearty breakfast hash, and they’re packed full of nutrients.
4. Toast toppers
Avocado makes a great standalone toast topping, or you could layer up with some sliced tomato, red onion, basil or spinach. Delicious.
5. Veggie sticks and dip
Chop carrots, cucumber, celery or bell peppers into sticks and serve with your favourite hummus dip or nut butter for a quick, easy and nourishing snack. Pre prepare the chopped veggies and keep them in your fridge for a quick grab and go option.
6. Roasted and snack-ready
Raw veggie sticks aren’t your only snack options when it comes to vegetables. Roast a tray of your favourite veg (feel free to add seasonings for extra flavour), then store any leftovers in the fridge for whenever you want a snack. Roasted chickpeas also make a delicious snack or a crunchy topping for salads.
7. Beef up mince dishes
Preparing a mince-based dish - say bolognese, nachos or shepherd’s pie - presents the perfect opportunity to sneak some extra veggies in. Grated carrot or zucchini are both great options, or you can go for extra protein in the form of beans or lentils.
8. Veg-ify your sauces
Similar to smoothies, sauces can offer a clever way to increase your vegetable intake. You can add flavour to any sauce with onions, garlic, grated carrot and basil, or make a sauce even creamier by blending in cooked pumpkin or sweet potato. Blending starchy vegetables has also become a popular base for more nutritious pasta sauces, instead of your typical mac and cheese or carbonara.
9. Extra green dips
If you’re ever making your own basil pesto, you can boost the nutritional value by blending in some spinach or kale. When it’s already green, you’ll hardly notice.
10. Layer into casseroles and lasagne
Whether you’re wanting to stretch a meal to feed a few more mouths or just get some more nutrients in, there are many recipes you can layer vegetables into. Eggplant, zucchini or pumpkin can all be delicious additions to a lasagne, or if you’re whipping up a casserole or pasta bake, you might go for peas, leeks, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli or capsicum.
11. Fillings for sandwiches and wraps
Never have a boring sandwich again, by adding layer after layer of freshly sliced veg or piling up coleslaw mix or salad greens.
12. Make homemade hot chips
What is life without hot chips? For a more nutritious version of fries, you can easily make your own homemade hot chips by roasting or air-frying chopped up potato or sweet potato.
13. Make a nourish bowl with roasted veggies and protein
If you ever need a quick throw-together meal, nourish bowls make a great option. Start with a base of leafy greens and vegetables of your choice (fresh or roasted), add any grains, a source of lean protein, dressing, and you’re good to go.
14. Load up your pizza
Go wild with your pizza toppings to get more veggies into your day. Mushroom, capsicum and onion are some popular options, but thin slices of zucchini, chunks of roasted pumpkin, or even broccoli or cauliflower make tasty additions.
15. Mashed potato toppers
Making a shepherd’s, fish or cottage pie? Enjoy all the goodness of potato, sweet potato or pumpkin by adding a layer of mash before your dish goes in the oven.
16. Fire up the BBQ
Whenever you get bored of cooking your veg in the same old ways, the barbecue offers many ways to add a bit of sizzle to your meals. With vegetables, we love grilling them or piling a colourful selection onto skewers.
17. Layer your burgers
Add flavour, texture and colour to your burgers with stacks of whatever takes your fancy - avocado, tomato, portobello mushroom, beetroot, red onion, pickles and leafy greens, or swap mince patties for veggie patties!
18. Make stuffed veggies
Instead of trying to think about how you can put vegetables in things, what about how you can put other foods inside vegetables? Capsicums, potatoes, eggplants, zucchinis and sweet potatoes all make great options that you can stuff with mince, bean or grain fillings.
19. Spruce up your guac
Avocado is packed full of nutrients, fibre and healthy fats as it is, but you can make a guac even more flavourful and nutritious with chopped red onion, jalapenos and tomato. Dip in your favourite crackers or fresh carrots - voila.
20. Cauliflower rice
We’ve got absolutely nothing against rice - cauliflower can simply be a nice addition if you want to boost your veggie intake. Whizz it up in a blender, then mix it into your rice as a half-half combination, or have it instead of rice if you’re so inclined.
21. Stir-fry your faves
One of the easiest dishes to jam-pack with veg is a stir-fry, especially when it comes to greens. You can’t go wrong with edamame, cabbage, sugar snap peas, bok choi, zucchini, broccoli, green beans, bell peppers, mushrooms, baby corn, onions or carrots.
22. Veg-ify curries
Curries give you just as much freedom with your veg options, making them an awesome meal option rich in texture, flavour and nutrients. If you’re following a recipe, don’t be afraid to switch up the veg.
23. Treat yourself
Looking for ideas to mix veg into your baking? You could whip up a batch of carrot muffins or cake, zucchini bread, pumpkin pie or there are even recipes for chocolate cake and muffins with grated beetroot or zucchini.
24. Soup-er delicious
We’ve left this until last because we figure you’re trying to think of ways to use vegetables that aren’t soup, but the sheer amount of vegetable soup options that exist means it still deserves a spot on the list.
Vegetables don’t need to be boring. There are so many creative ways to enjoy them every day and they don’t have to cost you the earth either! Buy seasonally, opt for an odd bunch (these are often a cheaper option!), eat what you enjoy, and don’t be afraid to experiment.
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.