Written by Anna Pashkova, MS, RDN, LD, ACSM-EP / Reviewed by Chef Julie Andrews, MS, RDN, CD, FAND
Do you feel like you get enough vegetables in your day? You're likely aware that veggies are filled with nutrients like vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber, so they're super important to eat on a regular basis. But sometimes it's just difficult to get enough of them in. That's why I'm here with a ton of easy ways to eat more vegetables!
Whether you've run out of ideas, aren't sure how to cook them or just want to up your veggie game, we've got you covered.
How to Eat More Vegetables
Tip #1: Focus on veggie-centered snacks
One of the easiest ways to add more vegetables into your day is to center your snacks and appetizers around them. If you normally go for crackers or pita chips for hummus, consider swapping for carrots, cucumbers, or sliced bell peppers.
Pair them with any dip -- whether that's a bean dip, spinach and artichoke dip or other favorite. If nut butters are your jam, combine them with your favorite veggies for a great snack.
Pro Tip: Keep raw veggies easily accessible and in plain view. If they're front and center when you open up the fridge and even sliced ahead of time, you're more likely to grab them.
Tip #2: Drink your vegetables
When you think of drinking veggies, you may think green smoothies or juice. While these are a great way to add in veggies, they don't always need to be green. Have a favorite go-to smoothie for breakfast or post-workout?
Add a handful of spinach or frozen cauliflower. Both make a mild addition that won't overpower the taste. Carrots can also be a delicious add-in.
If you have a juicer, it can be a super easy way to make veggie-based drinks too. However, make sure you still eat some of your veggies since some of the fiber is lost in the juicing process.
If you are a smoothie king or queen, throw in a handful of kale or spinach.
Tip #3: Add veggies to breakfast
If you prefer to eat your breakfast, there are plenty of options. Greens, onions and peppers can be easily added to most egg-based breakfasts. Love omelettes? Load them up!
Or level-up a basic breakfast sandwich with a few simple veggie additions like tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms or peppers.
If you're looking for something a little different, you may enjoy Breakfast Brussels Sprouts or Breakfast Tabbouleh. For a make-ahead breakfast option for quick mornings, you can cook these Broccoli Cheese Egg Muffins or Chorizo Hash Brown Muffins, which are loaded with bell peppers.
Tip #4: Meal prep for the week
One of the main barriers to eating more vegetables for many people is preparation time. To avoid this, set aside some time on the weekend to do a little meal prep. This can be as simple as cutting up veggies so they're ready to go for snacks and meals for the week.
If you need grab & go snacks, you can also portion them out into containers or bags. Taking just 5 minutes to prep a few veggies can be a HUGE time saver!
Tip #5: Capitalize on salads
This may be the most obvious way yet, but salads are such an easy way to eat more vegetables.
Plus, you can customize them to your taste preferences all the way down to the dressing and really make them your own.
Tip #6: Load more veggies into soups
While many already include some veggies, you can always add more into the mix. This can be almost any vegetable depending on the soup -- spinach, tomatoes, carrots, kale, peas, peppers, and many more.
Frozen and canned vegetables work really well in soups, too, and are easy to have on hand.
Tip #7: Use vegetables as wraps and buns
Leafy greens like lettuce and collard greens work well in place of wraps and buns. Lettuce wraps are super versatile and can be filled with a variety of mixtures like cashew chicken, taco filling, firecracker shrimp, or cauliflower-walnut filling.
If you're a fan of burger patties (vegetarian or meat-based) or sandwich wraps, collard greens make the perfect option to provide a bit more stability and are easier to fold. Just love traditional sandwiches with bread?
Make a veggie-packed sandwich!
Tip #8: Roast into chips or fries
One favorite and easy way to cook vegetables is to roast them. Almost any veggie tastes better when it's in the form of a chip or fry. The most common ones are sweet potatoes (as chips, fries, or wedges), kale chips, carrot fries and regular baked potato fries.
Other ideas include beets, parsnips, turnips, jicama, butternut squash and plantains. Flavor them with spices and herbs or pair with your favorite dipping sauce!
Tip #9: Elevate pasta and sauces with vegetables
Some pasta dishes naturally include vegetables, while others just present a blank canvas for them to be added.
Spinach, kale, tomatoes and broccoli make simple additions. This Italian Sausage, Bell Pepper & Spinach Pasta is a great example of adding veggies and protein to a pasta to make a delicious healthy meal.
Tip #10: Bake veggies into desserts
Last but not least, you can't forget about the tasty desserts and quick breads made with veggies. Think of these as just bonus opportunity rather than a main way to eat more vegetables. Zucchini bread is a classic summer example of this.
In the fall and winter, sweet potatoes are the star of the veggie dessert show.
Tip #11: Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables?
While it's generally great to eat in-season produce when possible, don't be afraid to utilize the help of frozen and canned vegetables, too.
These are great to stock up on for whenever you run out of fresh produce, need something quick, or just prefer the convenience.
If you're finding that your veggies are going bad before you're able to use them or you don't go to the grocery store often, canned and frozen vegetables are also a great way to reduce food waste and save money.
Now that you have 10 different ideas to eat more vegetables throughout your day, which ones will you choose?