One of the most common pieces of advice we give to clients is to eat more veggies. However, we often find it difficult to get that recommended half plate-full of veggies at lunch and dinner. So, why is it so tough and what can we do to eat more?
Follow these registered dietitian approved tips to increase your vegetable intake today!
Why is it so hard to eat more veggies?
There are a number of reasons we fall short on veggies, and one main factor is accessibility. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have veggies at home, but that they may not be as easy to eat as we need them to be to increase our consumption. For example:
- Eating vegetables takes work. You must buy them, wash them, chop them, and in some cases cook them. This is time consuming and many of us don’t have a lot of extra time at our disposal.
- In the heat of a snack craving, veggies are not often the easiest choice. When it’s 4:30pm and you’re feeling a bit peckish, do you open the crisper and start washing and peeling carrots? Or do you open the cupboard and take a handful of crackers? Convenience foods (crackers, bars, cereal, etc.) often win because they are so accessible!
Enter the veggie platter
This is the good ‘old tray of pre-chopped veggies found at almost every grocery store that you buy when you are hosting an event or bringing nibbles to a party. Here you have an assortment of raw veggies (often carrots, celery, cucumber, broccoli, peppers, cauliflower, etc.) that have been washed, pre-chopped, and are virtually ready to nosh on with one quick handful.
Essentially, the veggie platter is the ultimate answer to the issue of accessibility!
A game changing habit
Try to buy a veggie platter on Sundays when you’re buying your groceries for the week. Alternatively, buy a dip/spread you like such as hummus, ranch, or Greek yogurt dip, and chop some ready-to-go veggies for the week. Make it your mission to get through the veggies in your prepped container or veggie platter by Friday. Try to munch on the veggies throughout your workday!
If you aren’t yet convinced on the veggie platter idea, perhaps these other practical uses for a veggie platter will act as the final sell:
- Roast the pre-cut veggies (ex. cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, peppers) with a little olive oil, salt and pepper at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and you have caramelized veggie goodness to accompany your supper meal
- Sautee any of the veggies in a stir-fry or add them to a soup, stew, or curry sauce
- Bulk up a salad with any of the veggies in the tray
- Blend in any extra vegetables from the tray into a smoothie to up the ante on nutrition
With a busy and full life, it can be OK to cut corners – especially when it contributes to bettering your overall health. If you want to eat more vegetables and you don’t have a lot of spare time on your hands, the additional investment in fully prepped vegetables is worth it.