Vegetables have SO many amazing benefits. They can help boost our moods, help us fight off illness, and of course, feel better and deliver all the necessary nutrients our bodies need to function. Check out these 10 easy ways to increase your vegetable intake, plus a delicious veggie recipe for even the pickiest of eaters!
10 Ways to Increase Veggie Intake
- Add veggies such as broccoli, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini etc. to your pizza or omelet.
- Substitute pizza crust for a Portobella mushroom!
- Grill or roast colorful vegetable kabobs packed with tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms and onions.
- Add lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes etc. to your sandwich.
- Top a baked potato with beans and salsa (or pico de gallo) or top it with broccoli and a sprinkle of cheese.
- Microwave a cup of low-sodium vegetable soup as a snack or with a salad or sandwich for a meal. You can also make your own easy vegetable soup by taking a frozen bag of vegetables and cooking it in low-sodium broth or bone broth (for added protein)!
- Stock your freezer with frozen vegetables (with no added salt, butter, or cream) to steam or stir-fry for a quick side dish.
- Make your main dish a salad of dark, leafy greens and other colorful vegetables. Add chickpeas or edamame for added plant protein.
- Use cauliflower rice instead of actual rice.
- Use spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles instead of pasta noodles.
Delicious Veggie Recipe: Ratatouille
A great veggie recipe for Ratatouille (adapted from this site) to get those veggies in – it’s also gluten free, paleo and vegan!
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil about 3-4 large leaves, sliced, plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence spice mix
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 medium sweet or red onion, sliced
- 1-2 large zucchini (about 1 1/2 cups slices, sliced)
- 1 large Japanese eggplant (about 3 cups slices, sliced)
- 3 large fresh tomatoes (Roma are best; about 3 cups slices, sliced)
Related: check out another veggie-forward recipe: Egyptian spiced easy lettuce wraps!
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 6″x9″ baking dish and set aside. (see notes for baking in an 8″x8″ square pan)
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the crushed tomatoes, oil and vinegar. Stir in the garlic, basil, herbs de Provence, salt, pepper, and chili powder.
- Pour the tomato mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth it into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
- Stack the veggie slices in alternating patters (e.g.: onion, zucchini, eggplant, tomato; repeat) and place them on their side in the pan, leaning against the edge of the pan. Repeat until you’ve formed a couple of rows of veggies, filled the pan, and used up all of the veggie slices.
- Optionally, spray or brush the exposed tops of the veggies with oil to encourage browning in the oven. This is more for appearance, so feel free to skip this step if you want.
- Bake for about an hour, until the tomato sauce at the bottom is bubbling and the veggies are tender.
- Garnish with additional chopped fresh basil before serving (optional). Serve hot or cold.
For other nutrition tips, veggie recipes and tricks please reach out to our Park Ridge registered dietitian, Alicia Huggler, MS, RDN, LDN at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment!