Welcome to another Healthy, Simple Living Monday! Last week I wrote about simple activities for Spring. Ways to enjoy my kids, get outside, and keep everything simple and relaxed. Today, I thought I would talk about how to eat more vegetables. You may recall from when I introduced this series, that I was trying to make myself healthier. In mind and body – less stress and more healthful foods. One of the first ways I am trying to improve upon what goes into my body, is by simply eating real foods. Fruits (no problem there) and vegetables.
Like many, I have not always been a fan of vegetables. But I have been coming around. I gave myself some tough love – I told myself, “You are an adult. You know these are good for you. You want to be healthy and set a good example for your kids. Suck it up buttercup and eat your veggies.” Since that little chat I have been doing pretty well. Here are some ways that I have found helpful and simple on how to eat more vegetables.
How to eat more vegetables
1. Convenience. The first, and perhaps most obvious way to eat more vegetables for me was to buy them and prepare them. The buying was never the problem – it was the eating of them. So I have been giving myself 30 minutes after grocery shopping to cut, wash, and get my vegetables all ready to eat. Having them ready and available has made it much more likely that I grab some cut up veggies to throw on a snack plate, to accompany lunch, or to throw into a wrap. Convenience, I have found, is big.
2. Dip. This is key for getting my little ones to enjoy their vegetables, but for me as well. We have made some fun dips and bought some from the store as well. There are so many kinds! A quick search on Pinterest will leave your mouth watering.
3. Smoothies. We are big on smoothies of all sorts around these parts. It is one of the very few snacks that every single family member enjoys. We often have a smoothie with our lunch, and we change them up every day. There is always a vegetable in our smoothies. Often a leafy green (spinach or swiss chard), or an orange vegetable (steamed carrots, sweet potato, squash). With a stronger tasting fruit – like a banana or mango those vegetables slip right on in undetected! For some inspiration, or to see one of our standard smoothies, you could check out our post on “Kid Recipes: Sam’s Smoothies”
4. Dice in sauce. We have started to chop up vegetables and add them to everything that we are cooking. In pasta sauces, pizza sauces, soups, ground meat, chicken – anything. At first the kids were very fussy about not eating any colored speck with their food, but they are really coming around (some more quickly then others). I am sticking to the philosophy that they will all come around. Eventually. As will I …
5. Reward (or bribe). I work very well with rewards. I like to set goals for myself and celebrate when I reach them – like most people I’m sure. So, I have worked out a bit of a reward system with healthy eating. Before I go grocery shopping I clean out the fridge. If I don’t throw out any vegetables (meaning we ate them all) then I get myself a fancy coffee on the way. Fancy coffee works for me – but whatever floats your boat. A little something to tell myself – “Yay – you did! Way to go!” You know, a little pep talk.
6. Grow your own. We did a big vegetable garden last year and we all ate more vegetables last summer then ever before. There is something about growing your own vegetables I tell ya. And it makes it a heck of a lot harder to let them go bad as well! All that hard work.
And those are the only tips I have so far for how to eat more vegetables. One of the biggest things for me was simply becoming aware of it and making it a priority. I have my mind set on simplifying and living a healthy lifestyle. I know vegetables are a must with this.
So … I will leave you with the phrase that comes to me each time I stare down a brussel sprout – and I mean this only as motivation – Suck it up Buttercup, and eat those veggies!!! Your body will thank you. And then, maybe a fancy coffee?
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