Most of us know we should eat vegetables. We eat them raw or cook them as a side to go with a meal. But it’s difficult to fill half of your plate with vegetables and/or fruits at each meal like USDA guidelines suggest.
In honor of National Nutrition Month, here are a few ways to sneak more vegetables into recipes you might already cook at home. Or, bring them to work to help you beat the latest workplace wellness challenge.
•Tacos. Dice and sauté an entire zucchini and add it in with the ground beef, onion and taco seasonings. It’s a cheap way to help a one-pound package of beef stretch to serve five people, and get a vegetable before you even put the lettuce, peppers or avocado on top of your tacos.
•Home-made pizza. After you spread the sauce, chop up broccoli or spinach leaves and sprinkle a large handful before the cheese and other toppings. If you’re making a frozen pizza, throw a few vegetables on top before you put it in the oven. Extra mushrooms and bell peppers are always a winning combination.
•Spaghetti. Add diced zucchini or finely chopped broccoli into the sauce along with the ground turkey, or without it for a meatless meal.
•Soups. Whether homemade or from a box or can, throw some frozen peas and carrots (really almost any frozen vegetable would work) into your soup! You’ve instantly increased the nutritional value of your quick and easy meal.
•Grilled cheese sandwiches. Add a fresh slice of tomato inside or serve it with tomato soup for dipping. You also can add leftover (cooked and chopped) broccoli from last night’s dinner.
•Lunch meat sandwiches. Be sure to pile on the lettuce, tomato and cucumber on top of the meat and cheese. Also, try using hummus or avocado instead of mayonnaise.
•Macaroni and cheese. Pair it with peas! If you buy the shell-shaped noodles, the peas fit right into the shells like little pods!
•Eggs. Instead of plain scrambled eggs, start the day with spinach and eggs with cheese. It’s easy to add any leftover veggies from the night before into your morning eggs.
•Eating out. Come armed with some cut-up raw veggies to snack on while you wait for your food at the restaurant or in the drive-thru.
These are just a few ideas on how to get creative in your own kitchen! If a new way of cooking doesn’t get rave reviews at first, don’t be disheartened. Nutrition is a big part of staying healthy, so whether you’re at work or at home, keep trying to make sure your plate is half full of veggies.