Have you ever been told you need to eat more vegetables? Or maybe your veggie intake seems fine but you want to lose weight, lower your cholesterol/blood pressure, or even simply sleep better. Whether you think you should eat more vegetables or you’ve been told so, chances are it’s true. But what does that look like? Does that mean that you need to be eating salad for every meal? Luckily, the answer is no… even I would get bored of that diet.
You don’t need to live on “rabbit food” in order to lose weight. Actually, it’s been shown that if you don’t eat enough, your body will store whatever food you do eat as fat, initiate muscle loss, and slow down your metabolism, thus preventing any weight loss. Instead of eating less, try eating more veggies! Unfortunately, the most popular vegetable in the Standard American Diet is the potato, sliced, diced, and deep fried in the form of a French fry. This is followed by the tomato, a necessary ingredient in the beloved pizza.
By cutting meat and dairy from your diet, you already are on the path to reducing your cholesterol. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs and any that you add from your diet, found only in animal products, will do nothing but increase the amount in your blood leading to an increased risk for heart disease.
So how do you add in vegetables that are full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients while feeling full and satisfied? Here are some ideas to keep even a teenager wanting more!
Breakfast – Breakfast Burritos
Who said burritos were only for dinner? Fill them with any of the following ingredients:
Sautéed Veggies – Try green and red bell pepper, onion, garlic, mushroom, and zucchini.
Tofu Scramble – Mash tofu in a skillet and add in nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard. Cook until all of the water from the tofu has evaporated.
Top with avocado, salsa, hummus, cashew cream, or plain dairy free yogurt.
Lunch – Veggie Sandwich with Soup
When buying bread, we recommend Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Bread, but we also love sourdough and rye. Try and make sure that you buy 100% whole grain and buy organic if you can. To save money, see if you can find a local bread store that sells them at a discount.
You can add any veggie and sauce combination to make a great sandwich, but these are some of our favorites:
Spring mix greens
Make your favorite soup vegan with the following simple swaps:. Replace chicken or beef broth with vegetable broth, replace meat with lentils (I like to brown them in a skillet and mash them with a handful of walnuts and a splash of liquid smoke to give it that meaty texture), and double up on the veggies.
This is the meal that inspired me for this post. Tonight, I made some of the best tacos to date and they were so full of beans, veggies, rice, salsa, avocado, and pickled jalapeno, that everything was falling out of the bottom. If your goal is to increase your vegetables, the list is endless for dinner options that easily turn into leftovers for lunch. You can turn any of your favorite meals into a delicious and filling plant-based meal. Just swap out meat for grains, beans, lentils, potatoes, and yes, more vegetables. Here are some types of meals to try:
Stir-Fry- Click here for our Oil Free Spicy Veggie Stir-Fry recipe.
Soups and Stews- Use the previously mentioned simple swaps.
Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas, Enchiladas – Click here for our favorite sweet potato enchilada recipe.
Pasta – Similar to soups and stews, replace meat from traditional bolognese with lentils and optional walnuts.
With these meals, you can sneak vegetables into your diet in a way that is sure to satisfy your cravings AND improve your health!
Make it a great day,