We all know that vegetables are a key ingredient for a healthy diet. But when life gets hectic, what's the first thing to disappear from our plates? It's usually vegetables.
"There's no time to cook."
"I'm tired of baby carrots and lettuce."
"Vegetables are so boring."
This is what I hear from my clients who aren't eating enough vegetables. My answer? Vegetables don't have to take a lot of time. When I say salad, I don't just mean lettuce and carrots. And vegetables are meant to be added to. Don't just steam them and eat them begrudgingly. Have fun with your vegetables! Here are some of my favorite ways to spice up my vegetables:
- Keep low calorie flavor enhancers in stock. I always have low-sodium chicken broth, low-sodium tamari or soy sauce (San-J has wheat free), red pepper flakes, sriracha sauce, garlic, and mustard on hand. A quick veggie saute can be made with any combination of these. Play around with them and see what you like. In the photo above, I sauteed broccoli and carrots with tamari, mustard, garlic, and red pepper flakes. And you can't use time as an excuse for this one. I knew it was going to be a long week, so I bought broccoli and carrots already cut up, and even the garlic was pre-mashed. It literally took less than 10 minutes.
- Grill your vegetables. If you have a George Foreman grill, it's really easy to marinate them in some soy sauce and throw them on the grill.
- Roast them. Add a bit of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and roast in the oven until all the veggies are soft. Mushrooms and cherry tomatoes taste amazing this way!
- Want something to dip your vegetables in without all the calories of ranch dressing? Try hummus, salsa, or tsatsiki made with fat free or low fat yogurt.
- When you need something completely different, try pickled vegetables. I have to admit I've never actually made them myself, but this is on my list of fun recipes to try.
- Don't make boring salads. Lettuce and carrots? Sad. Spinach, red onions, walnuts, goat cheese, and strawberries? Much more exciting! When it comes to salads, anything goes. And spinach goes great with fruit. Try a spinach and fruit salad for breakfast. Or if you still haven't tried smoothies with spinach, it's time you got out your blender.
What fun ways do you have to spice up your vegetables?