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Creative Ways to Increase Veggie Intake

Posted April 23, 2021 | By Wellbeing Network Team

By Tara Collingwood, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN

Did you know that most of us don’t meet the recommended amounts of vegetables in our diets? As a registered dietitian and nutritionist, I’m all about the energy I get from vegetables.

Getting your veggies is also the way to go for disease prevention, weight management, vitality and just overall good health. This is why I urge you to think about veggies all day long, and not just at dinnertime. Of course, doing so is a lot easier said than done, so I’ve outlined new and creative ways you can add veggies to your plate at every meal, snacks too!

Breakfast

  • Breakfast can be an excellent opportunity to incorporate a few vegetables. My favorite is a spinach and feta cheese omelet, but also think peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini and more. You can make an omelet or just a simple scramble.
  • Juice: Add Tomato or V8 juice to your diet. Or juice your favorites in a juicer – try carrots, celery, cabbage, cucumber or kale.
  • Breakfast sides: White potatoes, sweet potatoes and grilled tomatoes all make delicious sides for your eggs.
  • Smoothies: Add a handful of raw spinach or kale to your morning smoothie. You probably won’t even taste it!

Snacks

  • Think beyond just crunching on carrots! Have a variety of raw veggies like red pepper, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas and celery. To make it more interesting, dip into hummus — make your own beet hummus for extra veggies — or a low-fat dressing or guacamole dip!
  • Have you tried dried edamame or broad bean crisps? These crispy, crunchy snacks can deliver a punch of protein and fiber.
  • Remember ants on a log? Go back to childhood, spread some peanut butter on your celery and decorate with a few raisins.

Lunch and Dinner

  • Salads are an easy way to get an assortment of veggies. Instead of solely lettuce and a vinaigrette, add corn, beans, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber or peppers.
  • Puree veggies into sauces. Butternut squash, carrots, peas, and spinach are some of my go-to veggies that make excellent purees!
  • Soups are a great way to get a nice supply of veggies without even realizing it. Choose a bean-based soup like lentil or black bean. Add peppers, onion, and tomatoes. Chili is a hearty soup that can carry a lot of veggies. And of course, all broth-based soups are easy to include carrots, celery, potatoes, kale, cabbage and tomatoes.
  • Flavor up your sandwich and pile it with a hummus spread and raw spinach or romaine for extra crunch. Leftover roasted veggies in a wrap or pita sandwich are also great choices that require little effort. In fact, you can also keep it simple with a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich.
  • Choose pastas made from edamame, black beans, lentils, or chickpeas. You can find a variety of them here.
  • Roast your veggies for a more desirable taste. My children love kale chips, and they are so easy! Just devein the kale, spread on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10 minutes or until crispy. I also love to roast broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes and eggplant.
  • Cauliflower! Make cauliflower rice or sub out half of the potatoes and use cauliflower to make cauliflower mashed potatoes. I have also used cauliflower-based pizza crusts. Who knew cauliflower was so versatile?

About the Author
Tara Gidus Collingwood, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN is a sports dietitian in Orlando, FL. She works with the US Tennis Association, University of Central Florida athletics, World Wrestling Entertainment, Leadbetter Golf Academies and Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute. She was the team dietitian for the Orlando Magic for 10 years. She also wrote Pregnancy Cooking and Nutrition for Dummies and Co-authored Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies. Tara enjoys being active with her husband and 4 boys.

Take Your Wellbeing a Step Further with These Related Resources from the Wellbeing Network

Learn: CHWB On-Demand: Nutrition and Vitality – Keeping Your Energy High and Brain Sharp

Engage: Five Nutritional Reasons for Increasing Your Veggie Intake

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