To Your Health
January, 2015 (Vol. 09, Issue 01)
3 Easy Ways to Eat More Vegetables
By Julie T. Chen, MD
While many of my patients love to eat vegetables, there are definitely those who don't. I'd love to help you eat more veggies with some of the tricks of the trade I teach my patients for incorporating more vegetables into their daily diet.
Many of us think of vegetables as something we eat at a main meal, but that's not necessarily the case. Of course, I highly recommend eating vegetables at every meal; but you can also sneak in servings of vegetables into your sauces, smoothies and snacks. With that said, here are my top three tips for eating more vegetables:
1. Blend Vegetables Into Your Sauces
If, like some of my patients, you don't necessarily like the texture or direct taste of vegetables, you can easily blend various vegetables like squash, carrots, spinach and other leafy greens into your pasta sauce, for example. You can even blend veggies into the sauces you put over meats or fish. Blending veggies into sauces has worked great for many of my patients who want the nutrients of vegetables, but don't like the texture or taste. Give it a try and see if you might be one of the success stories as well.
2. Snack on Green Smoothies
Another way to sneak in vegetables into your daily diet is to use them in a green smoothie. When I say "green," I don't only mean green vegetables. I know many of my patients only use greens, but you can use other vegetables with coloring like peppers, squash, carrots, etc., to add nutrients to your diet.
I recommend not using too many fruits, since it will boost the sugar content of the smoothie. Use vegetables with a little bit of fruit for flavoring; you should be fine as far as sugar content goes. If you would like to add in some protein, consider grinding almonds or other nut slivers into powder and blending it into the smoothie. This way, you know that absolutely everything in your smoothie is straight from Mother Nature.
3. Use Vegetables as Dipping Tools
Finally, most of us think we need to use crackers or chips for dipping, but vegetables are a much healthier option for dipping into salsa, nut butters, hummus or dressings. By using vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, and peppers for dipping, you'll keep your waistline trim and up your nutrient intake. By the way, these options can potentially help increase your energy levels as well – instead of making you feel sluggish, as is the case with processed starches like chips and crackers.
So, when you think of getting your daily veggies in, don't just think of meal times. By thinking outside the box, you'll more easily get all the nutrients you need in any given day. Talk to your doctor for more information.
Dr. Julie T. Chen is board-certified in internal medicine and fellowship-trained and board-certified in integrative medicine. She has her own medical practice in San Jose, Calif. She is the medical director of corporation wellness at several Silicon Valley-based corporations, is on several medical expert panels of Web sites and nonprofit organizations, is a recurring monthly columnist for several national magazines, and has been featured in radio, newspaper, and magazine interviews. She incorporates various healing modalities into her practice including, but is not limited to, medical acupuncture, Chinese scalp acupuncture, clinical hypnotherapy, strain-counterstrain osteopathic manipulations, and biofeedback. To learn more, visit www.makinghealthyez.com.