It all feels like a ton of work, right? Working out, meal prep, making sure to stay hydrated while getting in all your protein and veggies… Oh, did you forget about the veggies? You’re not alone.
The abundance, or lack thereof, of veggies in your diet could mean the difference between what you digest and eliminate, vs what you store. In addition to helping to keep your intestines squeaky clean and populated with good bacteria, veggies are also a potent source of vitamins and minerals that are essential for health.
Yes, you could commit to a greens drink (I like Athletic Greens and Thorne, Daily Greens Plus), which is helpful for optimal health but it is not a substitute for actual vegetables. The act of digesting veggies will promote better digestion and elimination of ‘stuff’ that could otherwise just start to pile up in your intestines or your fat stores.
If you’re starting to roll your eyes a little, making little jokes about how I sound like your mother, or are discarding this as sound advice because ‘who’s got time for veggies?’… Do yourself a huge favor and try to shift your perspective. It’s only difficult if we make it difficult.
Here are several ways to incorporate more veggies into your diet – even if you feel like you’re already consuming plenty… there’s always room for more 🙂 Aim for 1-2 cups of veggies at every meal.
Make a list of your favorite veggies. That may sound remedial but it helps keep veggies front of mind and accessible. Here’s a color code of veggies to help you choose a variety of colors.
Roast veggies in bulk. Here’s how I do it:
- Carrots, cut at an angle
- Brussels sprouts, halved if small, quartered if large.
- Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
Preheat the oven to 425. In a bowl, toss the carrots with a little drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the carrots to one side of the baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss the brussels sprouts with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. When the 10 minutes have passed, add the brussels sprouts to the pan, next to carrots – leaving room for the broccoli and cauliflower. Roast for another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss the broccoli with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add to the pan and roast for 5 minutes while you dress the cauliflower. Add the cauliflower to the pan and roast for another 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender.
When the veggies are done, toss all together if you like them mixed and store in the fridge.
Add a Super Shake to your daily routine.
Rather than pulling out all the ingredients every time, make yourself some smoothie bags and keep them in your freezer. Here’s how I make mine:
- Using one quart freezer bags, I fill the bags with
- One heaping handful of greens (I usually use spinach and baby kale)
- 1 cup of frozen berries (raspberries are a great source of fiber)
- 2 scoops Vital Proteins Vanilla Protein powder
You can make as many as you like… When I’m ready for a smoothie I pull out the bag and blend it with coconut water (extra electrolytes).
You can use any kind of green, broccoli stems are great in smoothies, as are cucumbers. Try to keep your fruit to berries and/or local fruits like apples and peaches.
You can add flax meal for added fiber, and avoid using juice as your liquid. Water, coconut water, or nut milk are good choices.
Ball Jar Salads!
If you’ve ever had a conversation with me about salads, you may have heard me say that I despise making salads. I’m not sure what it is, but I really don’t like making them. That’s why I love ball jar salads – you can meal prep them. Here’s how it goes:
- Try using a Spring mix or baby spinach & baby kale for the most nutrients from your greens. Using a 24 oz jar, start building the ball jar with your heartier ingredients first:
- Pre-cooked chicken and your salad dressing
- Carrots, thinly sliced
- Cucumber, diced or sliced
- Tomato, cut however you like
- You can add some pepita seeds for extra texture and nutrition
- Then fill the rest of the ball jar with your greens (as much as you can fit)
When you’re ready to eat, dump everything into a large bowl and enjoy.
Have some options for pre-cut raw veggies that you can enjoy with hummus, salsa, or on their own. I really enjoy the baby bell peppers in a variety of colors. They are also delicious grilled! Which brings me to my final suggestion for this post…
Kabobs! The weather is bound to warm up and if you’re striking up the grill, make sure to make room for the veggies. Kabobs are always a delicious (and visually pleasing) way to incorporate the veggies. From zucchini, to peppers, to broccoli & cauliflower, there’s no wrong veggie to add to your kabobs.
We have so many options for vegetables: direct from the farmers market, fresh from the produce section at your local grocery store, also from the produce section – already washed and cut for you veggies, plus frozen veggies. You can even get pre-riced cauliflower and noodled zucchini!
Keep your digestive track free and clear by adding plenty of veggies to your diet. Your gut will thank you for it.