By Lara Rondinelli, RD, LDN, CDE, Updated by dLife Editors, 10/7/19.
“Eat more vegetables.”
“Make sure half your plate is full of veggies.”
“Snack on low carb vegetables.”
These suggestions probably sound familiar, but the truth is, many people aren’t eating enough vegetables on a daily basis.
Most vegetables are very low carb, and therefore have little impact on blood sugar. They also provide a number of health benefits because they are high in fiber and packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
You should aim to fill half your plate with a colorful variety of fiber-rich, low carbohydrate vegetables.
Why aren’t people eating enough vegetables?
If you’re struggling to get enough veggies on your plate, here are some questions to help you figure out what you may be doing wrong.
- Do you tend to choose processed snacks instead of vegetables?
- Do you go for some days without eating any vegetables at all?
- Do you like vegetables but forget to eat them?
- Are you bored with vegetables and want to know different ways to work them into your diet?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, read on. Here are some simple tips to help you increase your veggie intake.
Pick one to try today and you’ll see how easy — and delicious — it can be to add more vegetables to your diet.
Have veggies for breakfast
Many people don’t eat vegetables for breakfast, but it can be a great time to add more to your daily intake.
Choose one or more of these vegetables to add to your scrambled eggs or omelet: onions, spinach, tomatoes, green peppers, zucchini or mushrooms.
You can also make mini egg and vegetable quiches in muffin tins and freeze them for a quick breakfast during the week.
If a little is good, more is better. This definitely true when it comes to low carb vegetables. Try doubling your portion size. If you are making a stir-fry, make vegetables the main course of the dish.
If you usually add one carrot and one onion to your baked chicken, double or triple that and add other veggies as well. If you choose to eat foods like pizza, add extra toppings such as spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, or green peppers.
Try a Veggie Smoothie
This may not be a typical way to eat your veggies, but you might be surprised at the great taste. Get creative and blend fruits and vegetables such as spinach, kale, frozen blueberries, or half a banana, with a little milk.
It’s delicious, refreshing, and a healthy way to start the day. These smoothies also make a great snack for both kids and adults.
Just remember to count the carbs and make sure to choose low carb fruits and vegetables to toss into the blender.
Roasting brings out the natural flavor of vegetables, making it one of the easiest and tastiest ways to cook them. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, toss the veggies of your choice, such as eggplant, asparagus, zucchini, peppers, Brussel sprouts, or cauliflower, with a little olive oil, and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until tender.
You can also sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired. Enjoy this recipe for oven-roasted vegetables.
Snack on Veggies
Many people reach for unhealthy snacks such as chips, cookies, granola bars, or whatever the vending machine has to offer. Veggies are the forgotten snack.
Grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and green peppers taste great served with hummus or guacamole.
If it’s almost time for dinner and you are still hungry, have some veggies with hummus. Not only will you satisfy your hunger, but you’ll also be getting a serving of vegetables before dinner.
Sneak in Veggies
If you aren’t a huge fan of vegetables, you can find creative ways to sneak more into a meal. This one works well for anyone who isn’t a huge fan of vegetables.
Finely dice carrots, zucchini, and peppers and add to meatballs or meatloaf. Don’t ever make another tomato-based pasta sauce without adding vegetables, such as onion, green peppers, carrots, or eggplant, to the sauce.
Don’t have time for dicing and chopping vegetables? Add a whole-bag of frozen Italian vegetables to the sauce. Just sauté the vegetables first and then add to the sauce. Use this same tip for soups, chili, and stews as well.
Order Vegetables When Eating Out
Eating at restaurants offers many challenges, but you can make things easier by ordering vegetables when eating out.
Start your meal with a salad and order a side of vegetables with your entree. Most restaurants have plenty of vegetables to choose from, whether it’s steamed broccoli, mixed vegetables, cooked spinach, or asparagus.
Making a conscious effort to swap veggies for fries or onion rings at restaurants can help lower the total carbs and calories of your meal.
Eat More Salad
Salad can be a great side dish or satisfying meal on its own. You can load salads up with vegetables and pack them with protein. Experiment with different types of lettuce, spinach, and veggies. Add some bold flavor with cheese, almonds, sunflower seeds, or avocado.
NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition