Many of my clients have "eat healthier" at the top of their goals list when it comes to talking about their health. Even those who are very invested in their health want to know more about how they can balance their meals properly and include more vegetables. Heck, I have even met people who cook organ meats twice a week and own two refrigerators, asking for help on incorporating more fruits and vegetables in their diet. The most common question I get is how to eat more vegetables, easily. May is the perfect time to really focus on this goal because the farmers markets are opening back up. Read about my top 5 Tips to Simplify and Enjoy Your Veggies This Summer.
Eating balanced meals and incorporating more vegetables can be hard work at first- but it doesn't have to be. It is upkeep, just like brushing our teeth or making sure we have clean laundry. It is a part of life that we need to do in order to look and feel our best, but we can absolutely eat more vegetables, easily.
Here's the kicker. I can spend all my time writing up a list of recipes for you to try, but I want to help you get to the root of starting more vegetable based habits. I don't know the inner workings of your life or what you already like to eat, but I do know that you are looking to eat more veg!
5 Tips to Simplify and Enjoy Your Veggies This Summer
First ask yourself:
How much veg are you currently eating?
What types of veg are you currently eating?
What are your limitations on cooking?
What kinds of foods or flavors do you like to eat?
Notice I said 'like to eat'? Flavor is a major factor. Eating more vegetables doesn't mean you need to sacrifice feeling full or that delish factor.
Second, Think About Storage Organization
Ask yourself: how does your fridge look and can you easily see your produce? When you go to the store, do you wrap your produce in the plastic bags provided and just toss them into the fridge, only to rot away in a desolate abyss of produce wasteland? 'Cuz, no lie- that is 100% me.
I rearranged my refrigerator with reusable cotton veggie bags and dedicated specific areas of my fridge to produce. I have some ready to grab, rinse and eat whenever I feel bored or hungry. It also encourages me to grab a bit of 'this or that' when I go to whip up anything at all. Not to mention, it helps when I am cooking and need something to tide me over.
One of the hardest parts about incorporating more vegetables is first off attaining them. You must ask yourself: what grocery store do you go to, what does their produce aisle look like and how well do you know what they stock? In other words, how much of an adventure have you gone on in your grocery store?
My biggest tip in shopping is to go on an adventure. Eat with your eyes here, what colors jump at you? Don't just grab the broccoli, just 'cuz. Grab the beets or the bell pepper because they caught your eye. Don't be shy to look for and try new things. We live in a time where we have cell phones and can google virtually anything. If you find a vegetable that you were attracted to, but you aren't sure what it tastes like or what to do with it. Google: beets recipes.
If nothing sounds all that tasty to you, then move on to the next thing! You may need to try this a few times before finding your way, but the uncomfortable uncertainty of this stage is SO IMPORTANT. I can't stress this enough. Uncertainty is a sign that you are GROWING and you are successful just by putting your mind to it!
Let's get shopping, my friends, and always keep in mind the things you ENJOY eating. We are all always the same people even if we make dramatic changes in our life and we still have the same taste preferences. Just because we decide to eat more vegetables and get healthier does not mean that we are dramatically going to love them as much as we might enjoy chocolate cake. I mean, I am chocolate gal #1, and brussels sprouts can never compare, I don't make them mutually exclusive because vegetables and whole foods are the best medicine.
Okay, I really don't want to get into portion control, guys. If it grows from the earth and has a wealth of nutrients. Eat as much as you freaking want. There should be absolutely no calorie restriction on something like carrots or beets. While they may be questionable to the calorie counter, there are PACKED with nutrients that your vital organs rely on to allow you to do things like manage weight, stay beautiful and maintain energy. So, don't be afraid for seconds on them green beans.
What I really want to stress here, is how much to cook and how much to shop for. So, say you went on your grocery store adventure and you found a new vegetable you wanted to try, and you got home and you were like holy crap, there is so much, what do I do?? It is so likely you will waste a lot of it because it is new to you and your diet doesn't currently include one cup of kale with each meal. That's a lot, guys.
If you pick up something new, buy the smaller bunch or package you see. When trying new things, you also don't want to feel defeated like you wasted a lot and it's a lost cause. No, in fact you are already doing an amazing job just by picking up something new. Considering it is the first stage, getting it home is awesome improvement. We still need to get to the cooking/preparing and then eating stage.
There is a lot to get used to in incorporating more vegetables. I mean, it isn't getting married, but it's also not as easy as buying another tube of toothpaste.
When I want to try something new, I always get just a little bit at first, see how I like it and if I find recipes that are low effort and delicious. If I love it, maybe I'll make a special trip again to pick more up. If I hate it, I didn't waste a lot and I am not discouraged from vegetables as a whole.
This tip is so important. Maybe the most important one. When I say research, I don't mean look up what are the best vegetables you HAVE to eat. I mean- ask yourself what do you already like, and what recipes do you want or can you make? Everyone's cooking skills vary, so I'm not going to require you to suddenly pick up complicated knife or sautéing skills if you hardly pull out the pan. We all have different habits and many of you are not chefs and have no desire to start cooking.
Wait whattt!? That's right! You don't have to enjoy cooking to be able to eat healthy. In fact, I know many famous food bloggers have little interest or skills in the kitchen, and they are still inspiring people to eat healthy every damn day. To each their own. So, where are you at? Maybe a cool veg salad with an awesome dressing is the way to go. Or maybe you can cut some shit up, get some oil + salt on there and roast those babies. What do you LIKE and what involvement do you want to have in the kitchen??
Once you have figured that out, research (vegetable name) recipe and see what catches your fancy and mood. Eating veg can be so easy so low stress!
Thank you for reading my 5 Tips to Simplify and Enjoy Your Veggies This Summer! I hope they were helpful and you learned some great tips to getting you started this May! I know I can always use extra encouragement to eat more veggies, so I know you could too. Don't forget to just keep trying and explore new colors, flavors and smells. You won't regret the adventure- now let's have a delicious summer.
For more tips like this, read my top 5 tips for stocking your pantry like a pro and be sure to download my FREE pantry toolkit guide