They are LOADED with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that are essential to your health and keeping you young! A diet rich in vegetables is also believed to help with stress and prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis. Convinced yet?!
Each vegetable has it's own nutrition profile but eating a variety of vegetables every day will provide vitamin A, B's, C, K & E, niacin and folate, minerals such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, fiber as well as phytonutrients!! (See one of my previous posts that talks about the different phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables!) Every vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient benefits your body differently providing what you need to keep your bones, hormone levels, skin and gut healthy.
So now that you know why vegetables are SO important for keeping you happy and healthy how do you add more vegetables to your diet?
- ADD TO SMOOTHIES! Try kale, spinach, avocado or zucchini. When I buy spinach (you know the bottomless pit containers that you can never seem to finish before they go bad) I like to put about half into a freezer ziplock and freeze them! Make sure you get all of the air out. The frozen spinach is perfect to add to your smoothies!
- MAKE A SIDE SALAD! Have a veggie salad with lunch and dinner! Use raw vegetables and just some vinegar and oil. Eat the salad first so you get a serving of vegetables in even before you eat your main meal. I like making mason jar salads a couple days ahead so they are ready to go!
- PLAN YOUR MEALS! I find that it's a lot easier to eat more veggies with just a little bit of planning. Pick your favorite recipes and if they don't already contain 1-2 servings of vegetables then add them in or make a veggie side dish! Mushrooms and spinach are mild so they are an easy vegetable to add- they always take the flavor of the dish. Roasting all kinds of vegetables is an awesome side or main dish- measure out your olive oil and sprinkle with whatever seasonings you wish. Steaming broccoli, cauliflower, or green beans is another easy side. Don't be afraid to try new veggies and recipes! Experiment and have fun with it!
- KEEP VEGETABLES HANDY! Another way to plan is to prep your meals or snacks on your day off- have veggies cut and ready to eat in your fridge! Think snacks like celery and peanut butter or bell peppers and hummus.
Vegetables don't have to be the boring part of your diet! Add COLOR to your day and challenge yourself to eat three different colored vegetables each day! With some planning I know you can do it and your body will thank you!
Check back Thursday for a recipe from my meal plan!! See you then!