One of the first challenges I usually give my 1:1 coaching clients is to increase their vegetable intake. At first, I like to spend my time focusing on ADDING more to their diet than restricting, resisting, and white-knuckling through the day around food.
However, increasing vegetable intake tends to be one of the more challenging tasks for many of my clients. I work with a lot of clients who struggle to manage a #momlife schedule between nursing, juggling toddlers/kids, and sometimes a full-time work load outside the home, and who believe that vegetable intake has to be complicated and/or time consuming.
I felt the same way, but then I realized my children mirror my behavior. I want them to eat vegetables too, and I know I need to lead by example. Below you'll fine 10 ways to introduce more vegetables into your diet.
It sounds super simple, but write out a list of the vegetables you actually enjoy. Many people come to me convinced they only need to eat "super food" vegetables, but the real goal is to increase ANY and ALL vegetables.
Even though potatoes and carrots are “high in carbs,” they don’t act the same way in our body as high carb processed food. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Potatoes are highly satiating and can often be used as a buffer food to prevent binging out on French fries or potato chips. Eat potatoes and carrots; they’re delicious and often not the reason we’re left struggling.
But people tell me all the time, "what if I don't like vegetables?" I hear this a lot, and I understand. Many vegetables can be bitter tasting or smell stinky when cooked.
Take a look at how you're preparing your vegetables. Are you only steaming them? Adding ANY flavor? Many people tend to approach vegetable consumption with ideas like "steam them only" or "I can only eat dark leafy greens that are boiled," but the rigid approach could be the reason you a) don't like them or b) you won't eat them consistently.
When preparing my veggies, I start with the basics of balancing flavors. A tip I got from my friend, Ashley Pardo, who is a personal chef, is that our pallets enjoy food prepared with: salt, acid, and a little bit of fat.
A couple of ideas:
Fats for high temp:
coconut oil and ghee
Fat for cooler temp:
butter and olive oil
Vineager/Lemon Juice/Lime Juice
There are a ton of flavor combinations, but I'm starting with the basics. Try these flavor combinations for the more bitter and or stinky vegetables.
When juggling a #momlife schedule and a full time career outside of the home, frozen vegetables are a lifesaver. You can use the balance flavor techniques to elevate the frozen vegetables and have a very delicious side portion of veggies. You can also use them in smoothies.
A fast. easy. delicious. #FED way to jam pack your vegetables into your meals. You can use vegetables that are wilting and might be on the outs. You can use frozen vegetables and jam pack your smoothie with 1-3 servings of vegetables in one go.
Salads are an excellent source of many different vegetables. You can either prepare them yourself or buy them prepackaged. Just be careful with all the extra additions that can come with salads like fatty dressings, croutons, bacon, etc. Remember the point is to get a ton of vegetables in a meal.
Eggs are a delicious source of protein, and combining vegetables into your egg scrambles will help get a serving of veggies into your meal.
Now if all else fails, there are recipes that you can hide your vegetables in where you can't taste them. I'm not a huge fan of force feeding foods you don't like, but if you want to get them in, there are a few recipes where you can't taste them like my: Zucchini Oatmeal.
I'll mince up vegetables and put them in pasta sauces, or I'll have half mash potatoes and half cauliflower.
It’s not always ideal, but when you’re in a jam something is better than nothing. I like green juice and red juice from Organifi, and I often put their supplements in my smoothies, coffee, or water.
Plan time to make time, and this doesn't mean spending hours in the kitchen meal prepping your food on Sunday. The plan doesn't need to be rigid, and it can serve as an outline of meals for the week in order to purchase the right amount of vegetables needed.
However, if you were to look closely at the way you eat in a given week, we tend to eat consistently the same few familiar meals over and over for each meal. We're going to take the same meals and add a couple more veggie ingredients. The goal is not to white-knuckle the way we eat, but to change the automatic habit in your brain. Your brain will send you signals to keep eating badly when you're trying to make a change. The plan will be there for you to fall back on and change the habit loop to serve you.
I'm currently accepting a few more 1:1 coaching spots for the end of the year. To apply for a more customized and individual approach to your exercise and nutrition. Apply here.