One of the best ways to support your health is by eating more vegetables. If you are one of those who cringe at the thought of “having” to eat more veggies, rest assured, it’s easier than you think. …and it’s more delicious than you may think. One of the reasons many people “hate” vegetables is that they have never had them prepared correctly. Most chain restaurants can’t even cook broccoli! Follow my instructions and you may find that you become a vegetable lover…um, that is, a lover of vegetables. Anyway, if you aren’t sure what vegetables to buy or if you will like any of them, find at least 2 vegetables that you DO know and like (corn and potatoes don’t count) and build up your vegetable tolerance from there.
Three Easy Ways to Incorporate More Vegetables Into Your Diet
1. Saute with butter and sea salt.
Everything – even mustard greens – tastes delicious with butter and sea salt. I use about a tablespoon of butter for every 2 cups of vegetables. Don’t even worry about your cholesterol: quality grass-fed butter will not clog your arteries. It’s the refined carbs that will. Back to the saute: add the butter, melt in a pan (I use a cast-iron skillet), add the greens and a small amount of sea salt to taste. Often I will also add in a spoonful of white wine or some garlic while the greens are cooking. Depending on the type of veggies, 5 – 15 minutes will usually suffice to make them tender and delicious. Some ideas of veggies to use: cabbage, broccoli, leafy greens (of any variety), asparagus, brussel sprouts, etc.
2. Easy Additions.
I like to use chopped kale in my scrambled eggs (with a little salsa and cheese on top), in my spaghetti sauce, and in a salad with other greens (topped with dressing and anything else). Kale has more health benefits than just plain lettuce.
Another easy one to add to anything: guacamole or chopped avocado and salsa or pico de gallo. I add it on top of my eggs; or mix it up together and use as a dip for organic corn chips; you can top your meat or fish dishes dishes with some salsa or guacamole too. The other day for lunch I had a microwaved burrito (I needed to go to the grocery store you see), but I topped it with avocado and pico and it was much more satisfying… and healthy!
In other cultures, adding pickled foods as a side dish is common. For example, in Korea they use kimchi (pickled vegetables and seasoning); in Germany you may get food with saurkraut (pickled cabbage); and in India you may get chutney as a food topping or meal accompaniment. In the US we have pickles. Personally, I LOVE pickles, but I do read the label and make sure they are made without high-fructose corn syrup or other nasties.
3. Use the left-overs before they go bad.
Many people complain that they buy vegetables, then don’t cook them, and they end up tossed out by the end of the week. No worries. Take the left-over veggies, chop them up, and put them into some broth. I store organic soup broth from Costco in my pantry for such occasions.
Or…chop up the veggies, cook them (see #1) or keep them raw, and place on top of some cooked quinoa (cheese is optional). Quinoa is a grain that is high in protein and you can buy at the health food store. You cook it like rice. Another good thing to keep in your pantry!
Support your local farmer’s markets! Austin-ites are so lucky to have so many different farmer’s market options. Use them and eat your veggies!