Updated: May 31
We know vegetables are good for us, but we’re not eating them, and we need to find a way to eat more of them. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 90% of us aren’t getting our recommended servings of about 2 to 3 cups a day. That means we’re missing out on a lot of healthy nutrients like fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamin A.
Additionally, if you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight, vegetables are a crucial part of your diet. They’re packed with fiber, which helps you feel fuller for longer – and take up space in your stomach that you might otherwise fill with unhealthy choices. Here’s how to eat more vegetables and get your recommended servings.
1. Eat vegetables for breakfast.
You don’t have to have a big head of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli to sneak some into your breakfast. Instead, take the time to prepare yourself a veggie-filled omelet (bonus points if it’s egg whites) or slip some spinach or kale into your smoothie. As an additional benefit, numerous studies have found that those who eat breakfast are less likely to gain excessive weight.
2. Stir veggies into soup.
Not only is soup easy to make, it’s also really filling. It serves double duty as a food that fills you up so you don’t overeat, and a food that you can add vegetables to so you can get your recommended servings in. You can throw canned diced tomatoes, green beans, peas, carrots, celery, and sautéed onions and garlic into the crock pot with some chicken or vegetable broth and come home to an easy, delicious supper.
3. Pack a veggie snack.
You can sneak in an extra serving of veggies during the day by bringing some vegetables to snack on. Think cucumber slices and hummus, or celery with peanut butter – or even a cup of that delicious leftover vegetable soup to sip during the afternoon.
4. Try lettuce wraps.
If you’re looking for a different way to eat lunch, try wrapping your sandwich with leafy green vegetables instead of bread. Butter lettuce and swiss chard are great substitutes for a tortilla. Just add your favorite sandwich fillings, or use lettuce cups instead of fried taco shells on your next taco night.
5. Eat some veggie spirals.
Does your pasta dinner look a little…small? Here’s how to eat more vegetables: make noodles out of them. Zucchini is an excellent choice to round out a pasta dish. And you don’t have to own a spiralizer; you can use a vegetable peeler to make long noodles or buy them pre-cut.
6. Make cruciferous vegetable rice.
Going with the “bulk up your plate” idea, turn cruciferous veggies like cauliflower and broccoli into rice and mix it in with your regular rice serving.
7. Bake some veggie chips.
Sometimes you’re craving a crunch, and eating more vegetables can satisfy that craving. Bake some crunchy veggie snacks with a little bit of olive oil and salt: kale chips, brussels sprouts, or beets all make good choices.
8. Try spaghetti squash noodles.
If you want a truly easy way to eat more veggies, try spaghetti squash noodles. Just cut a spaghetti squash in half, brush the inside with olive oil, and once it’s cooked, scrape out the insides. It will pull out into strands that look like noodles, and you can top them with your favorite spaghetti sauce (more veggies!).
9. Just be sneaky!
You can sneak vegetables into almost anything! Parents already know about stirring peas into mac and cheese, but there are so many other places you can slip in veggies. Layer zucchini slices into a lasagna, or add peppers to a quesadilla. Top eggs with some fresh pico de gallo.
The bottom line is, it’s fairly easy to sneak in at least 3 servings of vegetables into your day. Use these tips for how to eat more vegetables, and you’ll see a difference in your health and well-being.