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Every time someone asks me what the best piece of advice is that I could give them as a Health Coach, I respond- “Eat as many veggies as you possibly can fit in your mouth-but not at the same time.” Then they roll their eyes and think about what a waste of time the last thirty seconds of their life has just been and politely excuse themselves to another more interesting person. The secret is, I completely understand their reactions to my advice. I personally HATE eating certain raw vegetables, and I also HATE eating steamed vegetables. I hate eating most raw veggies because it reminds me of the last 15 years of my life when I would be Yo Yo dieting and munching on raw veggies during meals, when I really wanted fries. The steamed veggies disgust me because my parents always made me eat them growing up and they were mushy and terrible! Ugh, I still shudder just thinking of steamed broccoli coming apart in my mouth and becoming mush way too easily. Like I said-Disgusting.
I am sure you’ve got plenty of great reasons why you don’t always get enough (or any) veggies in your life too. But, since becoming a Health Coach, i’ve learned that vegetables can inhibit or stop the growth of cancerous cells, improve brain function, help us keep body fat down, stabilize our mood, improve our eyesight, help our internal organs to stay in tip top shape, increase our metabolism- the list could be an entire blog on its’ own! But most of us know what great things veggies do for us- so why do we keep avoiding them? Because eating veggies can be cumbersome & tasteless, not to mention a pain to prepare. That’s why I came up with five easy ways to squeeze them in without you breaking a sweat or triggering a gag reflex!
1. Prep your veggies on Sundays! Chop celery, peel carrots, cut cucumbers, and divide salads into individual bowls on Sunday! Put the fresh chopped veggies into 5 individual baggies (one for each day of the work week), so you can just grab & go out the door. If you like to make individual salads for lunch, put a paper towel on top of each salad, then make sure you put an air-tight lid on top, and those pre-made salads will stay fresh from Monday to Friday!
2. Mindlessly Eat! Store your bagged, chopped, raw veggies next to your computer, in your cup holder, or wherever you spend most of your day. If you’re a teacher, grab a stick of celery or carrot each time there is a transition period. Make it your goal to munch on them mindlessly as you go about your daily routine and before you know it, you’ll look down, and they’ll be gone- working their magic in your cells. I find that when I mindlessly eat my raw veggies at the computer or while driving, it kept my stress level down because crunchy foods help with stress. It was also a lot easier to eat them while performing tasks rather than sitting down at lunch, trying to polish off a large bag of celery, when I really wanted to just eat my damn sandwich already!
3. Have a green smoothie in the morning. I have never felt better in my life than when I started drinking green smoothies in the morning. I usually throw three cups of greens like spinach and kale into the blender, 2/3 cup of fruit, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds or ground flax, 1 cup of coconut water, and some clean protein powder or a couple of scrambled organic eggs on the side, and breakfast is served! Not to mention, three servings of veggies! Bam!
4. Make veggie soup. Don’t make a big “to do” about slicing and dicing veggies, coarsely chop them, then throw them in a pot with some broth and let the pot do the work, and in twenty minutes, you’ve got yourself a satisfying snack. Or, throw in some cooked meat, whole grains, or beans, and there’s an easy meal- done & done. Plus, this is a great way to use up the veggies and other leftovers that would not otherwise get eaten. Are you still complaining about chopping? Fine, buy ORGANIC canned, already-chopped veggies and throw them in the soup, see if I care! (I don’t- unless they’re not Organic- then you’ll be in trouble). Here’s an easy veggie-filled recipe for Creamy Tomato Soup that’s way better than the Campbell’s version.
5. Cheese ain’t the only thing you can make ‘grate’. Grab a cheese grater and go to town on those eggplants, zucchinis, squash, carrots, cabbage, and cauliflower. Once you’ve got the veggies grated, you can do pretty much anything with them. I put grated veggies in my eggs and bake or scramble them for a yummy breakfast. You can throw them in your meatloaf, spaghetti meat sauce, your hamburgers, your lasagna, on top of your sandwiches, your sloppy joe mixture, your mac n’ cheese, your zucchini bread- get creative!! In fact, i’d love to hear what recipes you’ve incorporated your grated veggies into! Please comment below.
Veggies nourish our cells and help us live longer, happier lives, so fill your refrigerator drawers with produce and make it your goal to finish all of it by the end of the week. Get creative! I’d love to hear any tips or tricks you use to get more veggies into your day! Please leave your comments below.
Have a happy & healthy day!