Now that the New Year’s Resolutions have faded, it’s time to find new motivation to get healthy. Since it’s getting warmer out and we are all coming out of hibernation, let’s make some diet changes for the better.
One of the healthiest changes you can make is to add more vegetables to your diet. If you have read a few of my posts, you know that I’m a big fan of vegetables. It’s not because I’m a dietitian and I’m supposed to tell you to eat them. It’s because they are delicious, full of vitamins and minerals, low in calories and high in fiber. The fiber will help you feel full, which can help with weight loss and weight maintenance (as well as keep you regular).
If you don’t share my love and enthusiasm for veggies, you are not alone. Sadly, many people do not eat the recommended 6-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Here are some ways to get more veggies in you and your family:
- Keep trying! It can take 10-15 tastes of something to like it. So don’t give up on those veggies!
- Cook vegetables in different ways. Often the texture, not the flavor, is what you may not like about a vegetable. You may prefer your veggies raw, a little cooked or really cooked. Also, instead of steaming or boiling your vegetables, try roasting them in the oven with a little olive oil and your favorite seasonings, the texture and flavor is great!
- Sip on soup. You can throw a bunch of vegetables into your favorite soup (like peas and carrots in chicken noodle soup) or make a pureed soup (like butternut squash or tomato soup). If you buy canned soups, look for low sodium options.
- Plan your vegetables. Often vegetables are thought of last and then you run out of time to add them to your meal. For quick vegetable side dishes you can microwave fresh, frozen or canned vegetables quickly. Cut up raw vegetables, like carrots, celery and bell peppers, in advance so you can just grab and go with them.
- Hide them! It works for kids, it can work for adults too. Chop vegetables and cook well in a pasta sauce. Add spinach to scrambled eggs or peas to mac n cheese. Cook and chop cauliflower and mash with potatoes.
Try this recipe to get lots of veggies in a classic spring pasta dish:
Garden Pasta Salad (Serves 6)
A colorful mix of bell pepper, carrot, cucumber and grape tomatoes with flavorful kalamata olives and basil. Serve on a bed of spinach or spring mix. Add canned tuna or cooked chicken for a complete meal in one dish!
- 1 cup whole-wheat rotini
- 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
- 3 Tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 Tablespoon red-wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup grated carrots
- 1/2 cup diced seeded and peeled cucumber
- 10 chopped pitted kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions
- 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or parsley)
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 8-10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold running water.
- Whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, oil, vinegar (or lemon juice), garlic, salt and pepper until smooth. Add pasta and toss to coat. Add rest of ingredients; toss to coat well.
- Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 30-45 minutes.
- Serve cold on a bed of spinach or spring mix. May add tuna or chicken for complete meal.
Nutrition Information per serving:
151 calories, 13g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 3g protein