A couple of months ago, the vet told my wife and me that our hound dog was ten pounds overweight. Even though I help humans with weight loss, I could not look at this situation objectively and think reasonably. She explained that we likely go a bit over the line when measuring out food, and that the snacks add up. Of course, she was right. Her solution was to cut the dog food by 25%, and fill the missing volume with vegetables.
It works the same way for humans. Vegetables have negligible calories, and they fill us up. They are full of powerful nutrients for our health. We know this, but for some of us eating vegetables is a chore. My hound dog doesn’t have a credit card, a car, or any say in what goes in his bowl. We have free will, which can get in the way of our vegetable eating.
“Vegetables have negligible calories, and they fill us up. They are full of powerful nutrients for our health.”
If you know that consuming vegetables will positively impact your health but you just can’t find ways to eat them, here are a few ideas:
Get Vegetables at Breakfast
Breakfast is probably the weirdest meal to have vegetables, at least in our culture. Yet if you can make this happen, the rest of the day is easy. It wouldn’t hurt to break free from the typical egg, breakfast meat, granola, yogurt, or oatmeal cycles. The typical breakfast foods are just societal habits.
There is nothing wrong with a lightly seasoned shrimp stir fry in the morning. Try grilled onions with a few scrambled eggs mixed in, cold quinoa salad with slivered almonds and diced veggies, or veggies with hummus. The options are limitless. Most of us can list hundreds of options for lunch and dinner, but can only name a few for breakfast. Be different. Think outside the box at breakfast.
Canned vegetables seem to be looked down upon by nutrition experts. They lack nutrients because the water leaches out the vitamins. However, if they get you to eat vegetables because of the taste or convenience, canned vegetables become a perfect choice.
“They don’t go bad, so you can buy them in bulk and always have them as a convenient option.”
You can microwave canned vegetables in seconds, and they can be added to any meal. They don’t go bad, so you can buy them in bulk and always have them as a convenient option. And yes, peas count as a vegetable. Eat a can of those and you will almost certainly not have room for three slices of pizza. Win.
Use the Food Processor on Fresh Veggies
There are certain dishes you can “hide” your veggies in. Meatloaf, quiche, and even hamburgers are options. Use a food processor to make a carrot look like some small orange creature that was hit by a Mack truck. Use that crushed veggie to add bulk to chopped meat dishes like a hamburger or meatballs. You will barely notice any difference in texture or taste, but you can use less meat to get the same volume.
Fermented and Pickled Vegetables
Yes, these count. In fact, they have many health benefits including aiding digestion. Pickles are the most common variety, but you can find anything you like. I had fermented coleslaw recently, and I’ll be buying more.
“They offer the same benefits as canned vegetables, in the sense that you can buy a lot without worrying about spoilage.”
Carrots, tomatoes, asparagus, and beets are easily available too. They offer the same benefits as canned vegetables, in the sense that you can buy a lot without worrying about spoilage. Some are sweet and others are vinegary. Pick up a few bottles and add them to any dish.
Eat More Fruit
Fruit can serve the same purpose as vegetables when it comes to weight loss – it adds bulk without too many calories. Fruit offers different combinations of vitamins and minerals than vegetables. Ideally you have both in your diet, but if you are still struggling to get past the vegetable thing, adding fruit isn’t a bad idea. Berries, kiwi, bananas, and apples are all great choices. You can start here, and take your time adding veggies in.
Start Small for Big Results
Nobody can force you to eat more vegetables, but you can hopefully find ways to make them tolerable. Who knows, over time you may like them. The biggest takeaway here is that you don’t need perfection, nor do you need to make all the changes at once. Start with little tricks and gradually get used to eating vegetables.
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