A survey was done in June 2019 identifying that 67% of people in the U.S. feel guilty when they fail to eat vegetables with a meal. (Source: FoxNews) While this makes me happy (as a Certified Holistic Nutritionist) that people are recognizing vegetables are an important part of a healthy meal, it makes me wonder why eating vegetables is so difficult.
It's not like we have a shortage of vegetables in the grocery stores, unless you live in a food desert. In general, most of us have access to some type of vegetable. Whether it is frozen, fresh or canned, a vegetable can be found across the grocery store.
Some of the findings in the study showed that the biggest reason we don't eat more vegetables is that the produce spoils before we get a chance to cook and eat it. I agree that in our busy lives we forget we have a couple of zucchini in the refrigerator that need to be cooked before they expire. With the many things we have going on during the week, it is hard to remember to cook fresh vegetables.
But did you know vegetables are key to our overall health? They help our gut's stay health which in turn keeps our immune system strong to fight illness and disease. When we skimp on vegetables, we are sacrificing our health.
Think about your own health for the past couple of years. Have you experienced or are currently experiencing gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, lack of energy, brain fog, moodiness, skin rashes, acne, abdominal pain, anxiety, frequent belching or stomach gurgling?
If you answered yes to any of the above, eating vegetables is just one way to start getting your body back to optimal health. Not sure where to start? I am here to help! I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist teaching people just like you how to stop suffering from the embarrassing effects of an unhealthy gut so you can get back to living. The TAKE YOUR LIFE BACK coaching call is a FREE 30 minute call where we will talk about your specific symptoms and start creating a plan on how to heal your gut using the Simply Great Gut Health program. Simply Great Gut Health is a customized 5 Step plan that heals your gut and fits your busy lifestyle. The reason we focus on the gut is that the digestive system is the critical system that helps keep the rest of your body and mind healthy. By restoring the gut, we restore your overall health. Book your call directly here. It’s very simple. No jumping through hoops and NO PRESSURE. If we determine it’s not a fit, we’ll go our separate ways for now. If it is a fit, we can take the next step and get you started on the path to healing your gut.
So what can you do to start eating more vegetables?
#1 MEAL PREP THE VEGETABLES
When people think of meal prepping, they may think about cooking an entire meal that is simply reheated during busy weeknights. That is one way to look at it. Another way is to cook parts of meals ahead of time so then they can be reheated to accompany the main dish.
For example, I will buy a bag of fresh organic broccoli florets and a green beans at Trader Joe's. I steam both of them separately and store them in containers in the refrigerator. By doing this, I am reminded that we have vegetables to eat since they aren't "hiding" in the produce drawer. Plus, steaming the vegetables pre-cooks them so when they are reheated, they do not get mushy.
#2 STOCK FROZEN VEGETABLES
I get it. Fresh vegetables can be expensive if they are not in season. You may also have a picky family that only like a few certain vegetables. Not everyone is willing to experiment with a variety of vegetables. There are quite a few options of organic frozen vegetables that only require a couple of minutes to heat them up. Plus, frozen vegetables are great for stir-fry's. They are already chopped or diced making it easy to pour into a skillet and sauteed.
#3 MAKE A VEGETABLE CASSEROLE
Vegetable side dishes can be casseroles. This tip is along the lines of meal prepping but this time, it is focusing on casseroles that can be either the main course or a side dish. Look at some of the delicious recipes below.
#4 MAKE SMOOTHIES
Smoothies containing vegetables is a great way to drink your vegetables. I like having a smoothie for breakfast usually twice a week. I combine berries with spinach and avocado since I am dairy free. I like to make smoothies with clean water not with a dairy free yogurt or milk. Smoothies also make great afternoon snacks. So if the kids have come home from school, give them a smoothie as a healthy afternoon snack. Here are some easy recipes to try.
Eating more vegetables is part of a healthy lifestyle. Vegetables provide healthy proteins, carbohydrates and fats, which is what we need daily to maintain good health. Most green vegetables have healthy amounts of fats with very little saturated fat. Spinach, collard greens and turnip greens all contain fat. Spinach has 0.12 grams per up and the greens have 0.17 grams per cup. (Source: Livestrong)
Our digestive system loves when we feed it vegetables. Vegetables are high fiber foods which stimulates the bowels so we can poop every day. If you aren't pooping every day, you definitely need to find a way to get more vegetables in your lifestyle. When our digestive system is not able to get rid of the waste that is in our body every day, the waste stays in our body allowing bacteria to grow. This can lead to issues such as constipation, bloating and gas.
Do you think you will try to add more vegetables to your routine using any of the steps above? Let me know by leaving me a comment below.