OK. I'm going to be honest. Sometimes in the middle of winter, I forget to eat vegetables. I love vegetables, but I crave the fresh, bright, flavorful produce I get in summer. In winter I have to remind myself to plan vegetables into my meals. Vegetables have a lot of health benefits.
I think the benefits have been well documented, but in case you need a refresher, eating vegetables can
Reduce risk of some cancers
Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease
Promote gut health
Promote healthy weight
Supply many nutrients: B vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, carotenoids (that make vitamin A), calcium.
Here are the problems I face with getting enough vegetables:
Not everyone in my family likes the same vegetables or likes them in the same form. One child likes cooked carrots and another only likes raw carrots. I like canned or fresh green beans, but not frozen.
Preparing vegetables can be tricky. Everyone in my family likes cooked broccoli, but I frequently turn it into mush—which nobody likes—because I start cooking it to early or forget to take it off the burner.
Preparing vegetables can be time consuming. If I want to use fresh green beans in a soup, it takes an entire episode of “Tiny House Nation” for me to snap off all the stems.
And finally, I usually only buy vegetables once a week. So one of the most frustrating problems for me is consuming all the fresh vegetables I bought before they go bad and go to waste.
One of the benefits of not eating out is that I can include more fresh fruits and vegetables that I like and in the form I like them, than I usually can get at most restaurants.
For the next 5 days I'm challenging myself to include more vegetables into my meals.
I knew I had to plan ahead (see last week’s blog) to be successful. To incorporate vegetables for the next 5 days, here's what I planned:
2 meals with vegetables as the main course: Vegetable Soup and Salad Niçoise (basically a salad that uses whatever I have on hand)
To have some vegetables that stay fresh longer to prevent waste: Sweet potatoes, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce—as long as I don’t wash the lettuce until the day I use it, it will usually last several days in the refrigerator
1 meal with vegetables as a significant part of the main dish: Broccoli and Cheddar Frittata
To buy enough extra vegetables for at least 3 side dishes: Broccoli, carrots and sweet potatoes
Cut fresh vegetables for quick lunches
To make planning and preparing as simple as possible I cleaned and prepped extra vegetables while I already had out cutting boards, knives, colanders, etc.
As I cut up vegetables this afternoon, my kids were eating them almost as fast as could cut them. Now I'm set for the next few days!
Please share your own challenges and successes below,
I have a confession to make: I ate out this week. Back in November my friend and I planned to get together for lunch in February. Her schedule changed, so we met this month instead. I don't regret it. It was worth it to catch up with this wonderful person.
New 6-Week Course for Healthcare Providers and Individual Consultations Coming Soon!
The 6-week course will include
1 individual nutrition consultation and 1 follow-up consultation
Instructional and motivational videos
Recipes and menus
Tips for choosing foods and eating practices that nourish and energize
Social media discussions as a private group
Evidence-based content on the following: Nutrition, Fitness, Mental Clarity, Self-care
Because of the individualized nature of this course, it will be limited to 12 participants.
Stay tuned for updates!