Wellness Challenge #4:
Eat Yo Veggies!
Easy Tips to Increase Your Veggie Intake
Time for another diet challenge! (You can check out all the previous challenges here) This time, we’ll be tackling veggies! Do you eat enough veggies? The USDA dietary guidelines recommend 5-13 servings a day. That’s a pretty wide range, so for this month’s challenge we are challenging ourselves and you to eat 13 servings of veggies a day!
There are a couple reasons why we chose this challenge.
First, veggies are super good for you (well, duh), but do you realize just HOW good for you? A diet rich in veggies has been shown to lower the risk of many diseases, reduce inflammation, contain tons of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, provide naturally occurring resistant starch that helps feed gut microbiota, and help serve as a detoxification agent. Besides the health benefits, they also make your skin glow! Basically, veggies are a powerhouse for your body and I don’t think they get enough hype!
Second, whenever I’m trying to clean up my diet, I often find myself focusing too much on the foods I can’t eat, rather than the foods I can eat. If I’m focusing on filling my meals and snacks with delicious veggies to get to my 13 servings a day, I have a feeling I won’t be as focused on all the foods I’m hoping to slowly cut out (ahem sugar and empty carbs).
Third, cooking with veggies helps you be more creative in the kitchen! I’ve noticed whenever we are eating more of a plant based diet, we get more creative with the way we serve them, the sauces we create, etc. Since Bassam and I love being in the kitchen, I think it’ll be fun for us to come up with different ways to serve our veggies. We’ll keep you updated on all our fun ideas in our Facebook group.
Fourth, Bassam is not a huge fan of veggies. Since eating a diet rich in vegetables is important for a healthy lifestyle, I’m hoping this challenge will 1. help change his palate and 2. show him that veggies can be fun and delicious!
Here are some easy ideas to add veggies to your diet:
Although I LOVE salad and will happily eat at least one big salad a day, here are some more creative ways to add veggies to your diet.
1. Start your day with a smoothie! I like to freeze power greens (kale, spinach, and chard) in ziplock bags. I add about 2 cups into each of our smoothies. That’s 2 easy servings of veggies right there and it feels painless! You don’t have to freeze yours, but this helps me so that if we aren’t at home for a few days our greens don’t go bad and it eliminates the need to add ice.
2. Make a big batch of veggie rich soup to eat all week. I stuff any soup I’m making with tons of veggies. Here’s a recipe for my favorite creamy tomato soup that’s packed full of tons of sneaky veggies. You can do this with any soup. For example, if I’m making butternut squash soup, I’ll blend in a ton of cauliflower. If I’m making lentil soup, I’ll cut up all kinds of veggies in teeny pieces to add in. Even Bassam, who can be sensitive to vegetables, finds our soups delicious. He complains when he sees how many vegetables I’m adding in, but then he loves the taste!
3. Make a big frittata and pack it full of veggies! It’ll add color and flavor! This works for breakfast and also an easy dinner. It’ll keep in the fridge for a few days, just stick it in a toaster oven to reheat. Want your frittata to be even more of an inflammation fighting superhero? Add turmeric! Just make sure to also sprinkle it with black pepper, because black pepper is necessary for your body to be able to absorb the anti-inflammatory powers of turmeric.
4. Grab a bag of minced cauliflower or broccoli and add it to literally everything. Quinoa, eggs, burger patties, whatever. It’s virtually tasteless, although if you go with broccoli it will add color.
5. Don’t forget about herbs! They are a great way to squeeze micronutrients into your diet and will add tons of flavor!
6. Make your own tomato sauce and puree carrots, cauliflower, and greens into it. (Tip: you can also puree veggies into store bought tomato sauce!) You can use it with pasta or for an extra veggie serving, spiralized zucchini!
Will you be accepting the challenge?
Comment below and let us know!
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13 servings is a lot!! But I have faith that you can do it 🙂 I like veggies but my husband is really picky about his veggies which has led to some friction in our relationship because I hate eating the same few things *all* the time – so I’m really impressed that Bassam agreed to this haha. Just wanted to share something I read recently about kale – apparently it inhibits iodine uptake when eaten raw, so it shouldn’t be eaten raw too often. I still enjoy the occasional kale smoothie though 😉
What are your favorite ways to serve veggies? I need new ideas! I don’t mind eating the same things if I like them, but Bassam gets bored. I’m pretty shocked he agreed to, because he does not like veggies! I’m actually not sure if he’s getting to 13 servings a day, but whatever he is doing is a increase from what he usually gets so it’s all positive! Thanks for the tip about kale; I had no idea! I eat a lot of raw kale so I’ll have to adjust how I prepare it.