"Eat more vegetables!"

It's the most common phrase we dietitians use when clients ask us how to eat healthier. But it's true! Increasing the amount vegetables you eat throughout the day will also increase your fiber and nutrient intake, improve your energy and digestive health, and help you maintain or manage your weight. Yet, we know that sometimes this is easier said than done. Below, I'm sharing some easy tips to help you add vegetables to all of your meals!

Breakfast

Break away from traditional breakfast meals. You can add body, fiber, and a garden of nutrients to your morning by adding vegetables to your eggs, topping your toast with greens and tomatoes, enjoying a fried egg breakfast salad, or by adding vegetables to your morning smoothie. For smoothies, start with spinach for a tasteless boost in nutrition! Or you can experiment with more bitter greens like kale, dandelion or red cabbage! Start your next morning with this Purple Power Smoothie:

Ingredients:

  • ½ frozen banana
  • ½ cup red cabbage
  • ¼ cup pineapple
  • ⅛ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts/flaxseed/chia seeds
  • Handful of wheatgrass
  • Freshly grated ginger

Lunch

Lunch is one of the easiest meals to load up on vegetables. Salads, lettuce wraps, spring rolls, stews, chilis, and soups all are great vessels to achieve a lunch loaded with vegetables! More vegetables means more water content, more fiber, and slower digestion, keeping you feeling fuller longer in order to power through the workday! For the most filling lunch, make vegetables the base of your lunch and pair with lean protein like tuna, eggs, chicken, or tofu and a healthy fat like avocados, olive oil, or almonds. Try this beautiful lunch bowl recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spinach
  • ¼ cup shredded carrots and cabbage
  • ⅙ avocado
  • 5-7 sweet peas
  • ⅛ cup roasted chickpeas
  • ¼ cup baked tofu, chicken, or salmon
  • ½ cup roasted broccoli
  • ⅛ cup cashews
  • ⅛ cup golden tahini dressing

Dinner

Vegetables are already a staple element of the dinner plate. The USDA recommends making half of every meal fruits and vegetables. Take advantage of this opportunity and pile your plate with a beautiful, diverse array of colorful vegetables. Eating different colored vegetables ensures that you receive a variety of nutrients that your body needs to thrive and fight off illness. When shopping, make a vow to try a new vegetable every week. Use spices and herbs to give them a rich flavor. You can also try preparing your favorite standbys in a variety of ways! Roasting, sautéing, steaming, and grilling are some delicious cooking methods. Try these beautifully roasted vegetables:

Ingredients:

  • 2 red peppers sliced
  • 2 green pepper sliced
  • 4 large carrots sliced into 2 inch strips
  • 1 cauliflower chopped
  • ½ can drained and rinsed chickpeas,
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 1 small red cabbage chopped

Preheat oven to 400F. Combine ingredients in large bowl, toss with 2 tbsp olive oil, a dash of basil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Elise Deming is a registered Retail Dietitian Nutritionist in N.J. For more nutrition tips and recipes, visit her Instagram account @eat.with.elise.