how to eat more veggies

How to Eat More Veggies

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?

Why is it so hard to eat more veggies?

There are a number of reasons that I think we fall short on veggies, but accessibility is what I am going to focus on here. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. In the heat of a snack craving, veggies are not often the EASIEST choice. When it’s 4:30pm at home 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

You know the veggie platter I’m talking about. 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 – and it is one thing that has completely changed the amount of vegetables that I eat.

A game changing habit

Most Sundays when I buy groceries for the week, I buy a veggie platter. I then make it my mission to get through the platter by Friday. Every morning before work, I take a small Ziploc bag, stuff it to the brim with veggies, and throw it in my lunch bag. Over the course of the work day, I munch away on the raw vegetables.

I have also discovered that having a tray of ready-to eat veggies on hand in the fridge has dramatically (and sneakily) influenced my husband’s intake of vegetables for the better.  If you aren’t yet convinced, 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

I’ve had to accept that 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. I promise you, it will help to make a big difference!