Vegetables: 5 Creative Ways to Get 5 Servings a Day
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans of 2020, it is recommended for people, who consume around 2,000 calories daily, to include in their diets a minimum of 2 and a half cups of vegetables per day.
You can easily break down those 2.5 cups of veggies into five servings a day without feeling like all you do is eat salad all day.
To help you start a healthier lifestyle, here are some essential tips on how to include vegetables on your daily diet:
Make Grab-and-Go Green Snacks
We usually consume what we have at a quick reach. That’s why, when wandering around the kitchen, it’s more likely for us to grab a package of cookies instead of making a healthy snack.
To encourage yourself to eat more vegetables, we recommend pre-cutting vegetables that you can eat raw as a snack. Store them in a mason jar to keep them fresh. Leave the veggies in the front shelf of your refrigerator so you don’t forget about them throughout the week.
Carrots and celery make a great snack on its own, or you can also add peanut butter on the side. Cucumber is a great summer option, and you can add lime juice and salt for extra flavor.
Try veggie-based recipes
Most diets tend to include refined carbs that are low in fiber, like different types of bread, pasta, tortilla chips, etc.
You can easily sneak more vegetables in your meals by switching refined carbs to carbs high in fiber, such as vegetables. If you are up to the challenge of stepping away from flour-based foods, we recommend the next low carb vegetable dishes:
- Stuffed bell peppers
- Lettuce wraps
- Zucchini lasagna
- Zucchini noodles
- Cauliflower pizza crust
- Cauliflower rice
Add Veggies into Sauces
Sneak in more vegetables to your meals by adding them into sauces. You can either make your sauces from scratch or blend them with homemade veggie puree.
To upgrade your sauces, consider making the following veggie additions:
- Marinara. Add pureed celery and carrots to mix with the sauce. Add finely chopped mushrooms to the sauce.
- Pesto. Add pesto to a puree made of avocado, leafy greens, and even toasted seaweed (nori).
- Alfredo. Add pureed avocado and cauliflower to the sauce.
- Organic Ketchup. Add pureed carrots and celery.
- Guacamole. Besides the diced onions and tomatoes, add diced bell peppers.
Make Green Smoothies and Juices
Smoothies and juices are a great opportunity to eat leafy greens during breakfast.
Consider trying the next recipes:
- Green Juice. Blend spinach, kale, and apples in a juicer.
- Green Smoothie. Made with spinach, kale, avocado, and milk (almond, oats or coconut).
- Beet Juice. Juice beets and mix them with fresh orange juice.
- Sweet Green Smoothie. Made with the fruit of your choice (bananas, mangos, peaches), greens (kale, spinach), and milk (almonds, oats, or coconut).
Try Meatless Monday
Meatless Monday is a global movement that encourages reducing meat consumption. By avoiding eating meat at least once per week, you could easily increase your vegetable intake.
Take Meatless Monday as an opportunity to introduce more vegetable recipes. Here are a few of our favorite meatless dishes:
- Veggie meatballs (made with lentils and mushrooms)
- Brown rice risotto with mushrooms
- Sweet potato and black beans burgers
- Spinach Artichoke Lasagna
With Z.E.N. Foods, you can design a balanced menu that includes all the vegetable servings your body needs. The best part is we have a great variety of dishes, so it won’t feel like you are on a diet. Contact us today and speak to a consultant about the available options. We are here to help!