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5 Easy Ways to Get your Greens!

 

This is not rocket science to most of us: Feeling healthy and energetic requires a good diet and regular exercise. We all know this. But do we follow it? While everyone wants to feel their best, not everyone wants to swallow that this requires preparing and eating healthy, nutrient dense meals. A busy household is, well, busy.

 

Who has time for making veggies?

And let’s be really honest, who actually enjoys eating vegetables?

 

To gain the benefits of vegetables, it does not cut it to eat them once in a while. And not just small amounts – the parsley garnish on your plate does not count. We’re talking lots of vegetables. In fact, the thinking is that the main part of our meals should consist of vegetables, while the remaining food groups are simply “side dishes” or flavourings.

 

Vegetables are energy boosting, nutrient rock stars.

 

People often ask me what I eat to have as much energy as I do. Eating a lot of veggies is one of my secrets. I won’t go over all of the reasons why they make us feel so good. Suffice it to say that they contain many of the building blocks our body needs to repair itself from the stressors we put it through. An added bonus is that veggies fill us up faster and have fewer calories than all other food groups. You could literally eat as many non-starchy veggies as you want without jeopardizing your waistline.

 

If eating lots of vegetables is a no-brainer, why do we struggle to do it?

 

There are lots of reasons why we don’t eat as many veggies as we should. For starters, it’s hard to know which ones to eat. Would it surprise you to hear that you can use their colour as your guide? A good rule of thumb is to eat a rainbow of colours. Why? Because the colour pigments reflect the nutrients the vegetables contain. And generally, the deeper the colour, the healthier the vegetable. For example, Kale has more nutrients than iceberg lettuce. Sweet potatoes have more than white potatoes.

 

Simply eat a mix of different coloured veggies and you will be ahead of the game.

 

 

Ta-da! Yes, it’s that easy.

 

Another reason people don’t eat as many vegetables compared to other foods, is the myth that they take longer to prepare than less healthy foods. Let’s be honest, we can get kind of lazy when it comes to cooking. We don’t want to chop, dice, shred or julienne. This may sound obvious, but making it easier to eat healthy can easily circumvent this dilemma. For example, buy more “convenient” vegetables, like pre-peeled little carrots which are ready to eat right out of the bag. Popping a little carrot into your mouth does not take more time than that gummy bear. You can also buy other pre-chopped and/or frozen vegetables. Hey, if this will make the difference between eating them or not eating them, don’t sweat the details.

 

Keep it simple.

 

Another reason we don’t eat as many vegetables as our bodies require, is that they don’t inspire us. We have our favorite go-to-meals and those often do not include a lot of veggies. Instead, they tend to be very carb rich (like pasta and rice). The answer is simple:

 

We have to invest some effort into learning how to make vegetables taste as good as other more caloric, but less nutritious foods.

 

A quick way to easily increase your vegetable repertoire is through Pinterest. Just enter a few key words in its search feature and you are rewarded with many mouth-watering, easy to make recipes with step-by-step instructions. You can also put yourself on a blogger’s email lists so that recipes show up in our inbox automatically.

 

It does not get any easier than that.

 

Another helpful tip is to substitute veggies for nutrient deficient starchy carbs. There are many veggies, which have a neutral taste and the right texture to replace the copious amounts of noodles, rice and bread we tend to eat. And – brace yourself – veggies can even find a place in your breakfast routine.

 

 

 

Check out my top 5 veggie boosting tips:

 

1) Hide your greens in a breakfast shake – As long as you have enough other yummy ingredients in a smoothie, like blended fruit and nut milks to balance the flavours, you can drop some veggies in without being able to taste them. Lettuce, zucchini, carrots are few examples, which “blend” in easily. The only trick is that you need a high-speed blender to pulverize those little suckers. I love my Vitamix blender for that reason. If I were on a desert island, I’d want to take it.

 

2) Replace empty carbs with spiralized veggies – Instead of eating carb heavy noodles, spiralize zucchini, carrots or parsnips instead. They make a yummy, crunchy and much more healthier noodle alternative. Top them with your usual spaghetti sauce and you will soon discover a new favorite dish.

 

3) Cauliflower to the rescue – Like zucchini, cauliflower is a very versatile vegetable alternative. Puree it to replace mashed potatoes (I use it in my veggie laden Sheppard’s pie). Mince it in your blender to replace rice (say hello to the ultimate healthy fried rice). In fact, there are loads of recipes out there, which use cauliflower, even for pizza crust! Again, Pinterest is your new best friend to find out how.

 

4) Scoop your veggies in yummy vegetable based dips – Try making your own quick dips using veggies. For example, I use zucchini to replace beans in my hummus. It has way more nutrients and way fewer calories. And even the pickiest of eaters won’t notice the difference – it’s that good.

 

5) Veggiefy your desserts – If you have not tried avocado chocolate mouse or veggie based muffins and loaves, you are missing out. They are totally delicious and super nutritious. All the flavour. None of the guilt. I like to make grain free paleo coconut, walnut and carrot muffins, as well as zucchini and pumpkin loaves. Yummy.

 

I found most of my recipes online and just adapted them to boost the vegetable content. I also made them grain and gluten free and took out the sugar. If you are curious why and how to do this, CLICK HERE to check out a previous blog post, where I share how I transitioned towards an anti-inflammatory diet.

 

 

 

FYI: Throughout blog posts to come, I will share some of my favorite, easy to make recipes with you. To make sure you do not to miss any of them, CLICK HERE to put yourself on my email list. That way, you will receive my weekly blog posts automatically in your inbox. Again, easy peasy.

 

Last tip? Shop the periphery of the grocery store, and limit venturing into the aisles where most of the less healthy groceries hang out.

 

In good health,

Simone

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Simone Alberts is the founder of The Self Coach Approach. She empowers freedom seekers to independently create the life they really want wherever and whenever it suits them.

 

 

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