Research suggests that eating plenty of vegetables may help you lower your risk for heart disease and get more fiber, nutrients and antioxidants in your diet. If you’re finding it difficult to get your daily servings of vegetables, try these tips to make eating more vegetables easy:
1. Top proteins with sauteed vegetables: Instead of topping cooked fish (or meat or poultry) with a sauce, use sauteed vegetables, such as spinach, peppers, onions and tomatoes. They’ll add plenty of flavor and nutrients – and at the same time boost portion size without adding a lot of calories.
2. Replace carbs with vegetables: Lighten carbs with low-cal veggies. If you love cheesy mashed potatoes but not all the calories they deliver, replace some of the potatoes with vegetables, such as broccoli. You’ll get fewer calories and more disease-fighting antioxidants. (Another twist on this trick: Replace some of your pasta with veggies.)
3. Use lettuce leaves as bread: The next time you make a sandwich, consider lettuce leaves as a virtually calorie-free alternative to a bread slice or wrap. Just about any filling works beautifully. Try tuna or chicken salad, a stir-fry or even a burger.
4. Stock up on salsa: The low-cal condiment is long on flavor and fiber – and it packs a whole vegetable serving into every ½ cup.
5. Add spinach: Add spinach to soups, stews and casseroles. It pumps up the volume – so you feel like you’re getting more – for virtually no additional calories.
6. Dress up your vegetables: Eating vegetables simply steamed gets old fast. Add just a little olive oil plus big, bold “no-calorie” flavoring (garlic, sherry vinegar), and you’ve got a delicious proof that low-cal eating doesn’t have to be boring. You can do it forever.
7. Eat edamame: Get edamame – green soybeans – into your diet. They have satisfying protein and fiber. Try adding them to salads, stir-fries or soups.