“Kale; like my indoor plant?”’
“Vegetables taste like dirt”
and “French fries are my vegetable”
Veggie trash talk? I hear it daily. Dietitian problems, right? After years of wondering if you can count your Heinz ketchup as a vegetable, I am going to go ahead and tell you right now- no! But, you can take things up a notch and reap some seriously delicious benefits!
I just so happen to love all vegetables, but I know that for most people veggies can be intimidating to incorporate into their diet. I try to incorporate a variety of starchy and non-starchy vegetables into every meal. Which, is way easier than you would even imagine. Starchy vegetables include potatoes, corn, beets and butternut squash. They are naturally higher in carbohydrates and can be considered as a great side! Non-starchy vegetables include leafy greens, peppers and summer squash. These veggies can add a ton of volume, texture and colors to your diet easily. Consider these your base!
Both starchy and non-starchy veggies are important for a well-rounded diet and offer all sorts of nutrients. The easiest way I can suggest managing starchy versus non-starchy veggies on your plate is through color; more color the better! If you have a side of roasted potatoes add in a color with red peppers, spinach or asparagus. Salads don’t have to be monotone green with limp lettuce and a lone; use this blank canvas to create something full of color, texture and flavor! I recommend that patients optimally increase their veggie intake to make up half their plate.
If you’re not sitting down to a meal and are instead looking for a quick veggie fix, pair your veggie with a fat or protein to keep yourself satiated longer.
Eating a variety of vegetables is essential to a healthy diet! Each type of veggie offers a unique assortment of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Vegetables are an excellent source of dietary fiber, naturally help maintain blood sugar and keep a healthy weight in check. But, isn’t the question: “how can I make vegetables taste good?”
The stereotype of veggies being tasteless, overpriced, or hard to make is over. Instead, you’re going to be itching to go to the store for that bag of kale or stalk of celery with these tasty tips! If the cost of veggies intimidates you, don’t assume you have to buy organic, instead review the dirty dozen or go with your gut. If the idea of cooking veggies throws you off, don’t look to follow a complicated recipe, instead go with a simple roast or sauté. Lastly, if you think vegetables are bland or taste bad, think of how you make anything else taste good. Seasonings, sauces and fresh herbs are a quick and easy way to take your veggies from bland to bam!
You don’t have to dive head first into your veggie adventure by picking up broccoli rabe or Japanese eggplant (both of which are delicious); take it slow and steady with the ten easy suggestions below. And, check out this page for some savings on my favorite veggie pairings!
Sautéed in Coconut Aminos
- Skip the high-sodium soy sauce, and try coconut aminos instead. Coconut aminos are soy, gluten and wheat free, and have about ⅓ the sodium content of regular soy sauce.
- LOVE: Coconut Secret Soy-Free Coconut Aminos or Trader Joes Coconut Aminos
Roasted Cauliflower & Broccoli
- An easy, delicious way to create a caramelized, savory roasted NOT raw version of your favorite veggie.
- LOVE: Cut into florets, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, onion powder and paprika. Roast at 375 for 30 min, tossing half way through. Sprinkle fresh parsley or extra black pepper!
Massaged with Savory Dressings
- Leafy greens and starchy vegetables can be massaged with olive oil based dressings to not only add more flavor to the veggie, but also alter the texture to a different, more desirable mouth feel.
- LOVE: Massaging kale with Primal Kitchen Salad Dressings to breakdown the fiber, make the greens much easier to chew and digest. Drizzle with lemon juice and black pepper for an easy salad base
Veggie Hash at Breakfast
- Cover your plate with a thin layer of easy veggie hash, then place your eggs/bacon/turkey sausage on top. Adds more color, fiber and flavor to your go-to breakfast.
- LOVE: Dice up onions, mushrooms, kale or spinach, and cherry tomatoes. Stir fry in a pan with seasoning.
Topped with Fresh Herbs
- Not only is it ideal to choose vegetables in season, but you can also utilize fresh herbs in season. Basil in the summer or parsley in the Fall are two great additions to sprinkle on top of roasted or stir-fried veggies.
- LOVE: Finely mince or chop fresh herbs, then once vegetables have almost finished cooking, sprinkle the herbs on at the very end.
Dipped in Hummus or Ranch
- Pair your fiber with a fat by choosing high-quality hummus and ranch that don’t have a ton of additives. Top hummus with an extra drizzle of olive oil and mix in fresh herbs to your ranch for more flavor.
- LOVE: Tessemae’s Ranch to-go cups (three different delicious flavors) and Ithaca Hummus to pair perfectly with baby carrots and cucumbers.
Stuffed Peppers and Squash
- If you’re tired of sautéed or roasted veggies, choose a hearty vegetable like squash and peppers to be stuffed with a medley of whole grains, protein and extra veggies.
- LOVE: De-seed a bell-pepper or scoop out a zucchini, then fill with a combination of brown rice, legumes or ground turkey, and finely diced sautéed veggies.
Serve with Guacamole
- Guacamole isn’t only meant for chips or tacos, it actually makes for a great alternative for dipping veggies into. Mash an avocado with Cholula, S&P, or even EBTB seasoning for a quick snack.
- LOVE: Thick cuts of bell peppers dipped into mashed avocado or pre-made guac packs
Add a Homemade Glaze or Sauce
- Make an easy, low-sodium glaze by mixing balsamic vinegar (reduction) or honey with olive oil then tossing your vegetables of choice. Roast or bake your veggies till tender.
- LOVE: More bitter vegetables like Brussel sprouts, beets or even carrots roasted with a glaze then spritz of lemon is a delicious side.
Shredded and Snuck In at Meal Prep
- An easy way to incorporate more veggies is by throwing in shredded veggies, like zucchini or carrots, into your staple meals. Shredded veggies mixed into sauces, soups/stews and casseroles are awesome!
- LOVE: Use a peeler or cheese grater to shred veggies, freeze or store in fridge, then toss into dinner
- Shop seasonal veggies for the best flavor and quality.
- Eat a variety of colors to ensure you get a variety of phytonutrients.
- Experiment with veggies, easy seasonally and you’ll always find something new!
- Have loved dips and seasonings on hand for a punch of flavor
- Bake, roast, grill, and air-fry; switch up your prep game!