Monday, March 8, 2010

Eat All Your Veggies!

Happy Monday everyone! It's still beautiful weather here in Boston and I have to say, it's hard to focus on life when it's this gorgeous outside!

Did you guys know that March is National Nutrition Month? Well it is. I eat a pretty healthy diet, but one of the areas that I struggle the most is in the vegetable category. Insoluble fiber veggies (aka most of them) hurt my stomach if I eat more than a little, and almost all raw veggies bother me as well. This means that I have a limited number of veggies I can eat at all AND I have to plan to cook the veggies if I want to eat them. This combination does not make eating vegetables easy at all.

However, we all know about the importance of vegetables! I have been reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. He emphasizes that we cannot simply isolate the nutrients in vegetables and assume they will have the same benefits. Many of the benefits of the nutrients in vegetables may only be experienced if we eat our vegetables.

According to the food pyramid, I (as a 19-30 year old female) need 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day. Today I had:

Breakfast: 1/4 cup of pumpkin
Lunch: 1 cup of zucchini, red peppers, mushrooms and beans (yup they count as veggies, yippee) on my pizza
Dinner: 1 cup of mashed butternut squash

Total: 2 1/4 cup of vegetables.
Truthfully I thought on most days I was probably a lot lower than this, so getting within 1/4 cup of the recommended amount is actually pretty good for me! However, my veggie pizza really helps me with this. On days when I do not eat veggie pizza for lunch I probably struggle to meet this goal a lot more.

Some of the ways that I try to incorporate veggies now include...

1. Add Veggies To Breakfast

Eating a salad at lunch or a side of veggies at dinner is pretty common. However, it's easier to incorporate veggies if I try to eat them at ALL meals. I love adding pumpkin to my oatmeal and it gives me 1/4 cup of vegetables before I even leave the house. I have been scheming of a way to add vegetables to my non-oatmeal breakfast tomorrow so I'll let you know how it goes...

2. Prepare ahead of time.

Let's face it, we are all more likely to eat our veggies if it's easy. On Sunday morning I woke up and ate breakfast before the gym. While I digested a bit I just started cooking veggies like a madwoman. On one burner I was boiling my butternut squash pieces, on another burner I was steaming zucchini, mushrooms. In the oven I was roasting a red pepper. You know...the usual Sunday morning. Haha.

But seriously the whole process took about 20 minutes and then it was into tupperware everything went and it was ready for my lunches and dinners for the week.

3. Sneak veggies into your favorite meals.

The Green Monster is probably the best example of this. Everyone loves smoothies, why not add some spinach? Unfortunately spinach and I do not do well, so I've had to get creative in other ways. I love pizza, but I can't eat cheese so instead I make a veggie and bean pizza. It's an awesome way to get my veggies in and it's still delicious.

Tomato sauce + zucchini + mushrooms + roasted red peppers + black beans.

Even though I have some ways to eat my veggies, I could still improve. My current goals as far as veggies go include:

1. Try to get 2 1/2 cups of veggies per day.

2. Try to incorporate veggies into my breakfast even on days I do not eat oatmeal.

3. Start roasting my veggies more often. I think it might be better nutritionally (could be making that up) and also I think they taste better :)

What is your favorite vegetable?

My favorite is potatoes! I also love carrots.

Do you get enough vegetables every day? Do you have any good tips for eating more veggies?


  1. I loooove Brussels sprouts! I think you are pretty awesome for figuring out all sorts of ways to eat veggies. Salad eaters like me have it easy!
    Roasting makes them all delicious though!

  2. I actually just made dinner, which could very easily be a breakfast with lots of veggies.

    BAsically, I added chopped up veggies to my eggs, and then put it into a quesadilla. Gave it some nice crunch. I added squash, zuchinni, spinach, and asparagus.

  3. Brussel sprouts are definitely one of my favourite veggies! Hehe. I TRY to eat enough veggies. Let's see, today I had.... a serving of celery at lunch.

    That's it so far. Whoops! I HAVE had lots of fruit though *blushes*

    I guess I shall be joining this challenge with you :P

  4. I eat red bell peppers and carrots pretty much daily with my lunch (just cut up raw) and I am trying to incorporate more veges into my dinners as well. I LOVE vege pizza and quinoa mixed with any veges that I have. I have really been wanting to try a green monster but I don't have a blender here!

  5. I love veggies, but like you, I have to be careful or my tummy rebels. It has gotten a lot better since I cut out gluten from my regular diet, but I still need to be careful. Sometimes, adding a starchy vegggie like squash to leafy greens helps me tolerate the leafy greens better.

  6. Just last night I was asking myself about my veggie intake. I don't think I'm getting enough these days either. I really need to work on it.

  7. I LOVE veggies!! I crave them sometimes. I was trying to think how the heck you would add them to your breakfast...then I realized I do too! I have my oats with pumpkin, but to be honest I can't imagine how else you could incorporate veggies..I can't wait to see what you end up doing!!

    My favorite vegetable is broccoli, or sweet potatoes. I can't get enough of either of them, especially the sweet potato. And yes, I do get enough each day...the fruit area is one I need to work on!

  8. I love veggies and I'm fortunate not to have the tummy issues. I love a big salad with lunch and dinner, but roasted veggies are also my fave. Or sauteed in a little olive oil... especially peppers & zucchini - definite faves!

    Funny, I've never considered a potato to be a vegetable. Not really sure why.

  9. Great tips. I get an upset stomach from the fiber too, but probably not as bad as yours :(

    I try to eat all my veggies and it's one of my favoirte parts of the grocery store. Something about loading my cart with them puts me in a good mood.

    My favorite right now is Brussel sprouts. Sauted with kosher salt. Yumm. So good!

    We've been having nice weather here too so I think we'll get the garden ready and maybe try out some new veggies this year.

  10. Great post! I will have to try the pumpkin in my oatmeal -- that sounds delicious.

    Basically every day my lunch is a salad. Even if I'm having left-over fajita meat + black beans...I throw it on a bed of spinach with some peppers.

    And if I notice I'm lacking on veggies for the day -- I'm make a little side salad with dinner.

    Also, my favorite snack in the world is cucumbers! I buy them, slice them up into containers, and snack on them throughout the day. Same with carrots!

    Favorite vegetable is a toss-up between cucumbers and tomatoes.

  11. I am lucky enough to love veggies! I eat my weight in baby carrots daily. I guess my favorite "sneaky" way to get my veggies in is in oatmeal or pancakes! Squash and sweet potatoes slide right on into the breakfast category for me!

  12. Me and veggies don't do well together. I need this challenge too I guess.. help!

  13. I eat a TON of veggies....A TON! I am probably lacking in the fruit department!

  14. I try to eat a fruit or veggie at breakfast, 1-2 more at lunch at at least with dinner (salad and something else). And then I try to have snacks that involve a fruit or veggie at least once during the day.

    If I space them out I do much better.

  15. I had no idea this month was so special :)

    And yes, the weather is amazing!!!!!!!

  16. My favorite vegetables are corn and cucumbers.

    The only way I've ever gotten veggies at breakfast is if I make smoothies with spinach. I totally forgot that pumpkin counted. And I agree that preparing vegetables ahead of time makes it easier to get all of the servings. I also think frozen veggies are ok. I'd rather eat them than no vegetables at all! :)

  17. i love using sundays as my prep day. its kind of relaxing to be so organized before the week even begins. your zucchini totally looks like a steam cucumber - i wonder if you can steam cucumbers?!

  18. I used to eat a TON of veggies before my weird lower ab/groin injury thing happened and made me lose my appetite/make it hard to stomach many veggies. I've slowly been adding veggies and salads back into my diet, though. My fave are roasted brussels sprouts. Yum :)

  19. ohh I eat SO many veggies, seriously half my fridge is packed full of them!! that pizza looks SO good! I am interested in seeing how you incorporate veggies into your breakfast!!

  20. I always think I eat a lot of veggies but some days, when I think about it, I realize that I haven't eaten any!

  21. I've never met a veggie that I didn't like. ;) My fave is also probably the potato. It's just so versatile. I also love corn on the cob!!

  22. I lovvvvve veggies. I would eat them more if I ate lunch at home/had access to a microwave. Right now, I'm getting about 1 cup of veggies a day. But I'm also eating about 2 cups of fruits as well, which I think is also important. I put fruits/veggies in the same category so I feel as if I'm doing OK on that front.

    I love potatoes as well. And corn, green beans, and green peas are my fave's as well!