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6 Ways To Get More Veggies On Your Plate

Recent data shows less than 10% of Americans are eating enough veggies—here are some easy and delicious ideas to help you meet your quota!

Veggies

Photo: Sarah Kaiser/WFIU

Data from the Department of Health and Human Services shows less than 10% of adults are eating the recommended 2-3 servings of vegetables a day.

According to data analyzed by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2010, only 6 percent of men and 4 percent of women eat the 2-3 servings a day recommended by MyPyramid. The department has released 2020 objectives with the goal of changing this.

We’re glad Healthy People is including more vegetables in their list of goals for a healthier US population—and we want to help. Here’s a list of 6 easy ways to add veggies to your diet this year.

  1. Stimulate Your Salads—The key to a good salad is balancing out the flavors. Unless you’re a rabbit, you probably won’t enjoy a big pile of lettuce leaves with nothing on them. Top off your spinach with this Lefty’s Black Walnut Vinaigrette or a Creamy Tahini Dressing, turn weeds into lunch using Dandelion Greens with New Potatoes and Local Sausage, or make a salad out of Local Eggs, New Potatoes, and Asparagus.
  2. Combinations are Key—Plain, raw broccoli never hurt anybody—but it won’t get you anticipating lunch, either. Toss chunks of zucchini, yellow squash, and tomato into a crustless quiche for an easy weeknight meal.  Use up pantry leftovers for a feast of vegetable soup. Or try a vegan breakfast with this veggie lovers’ Breakfast Hash.
  3. Dip Your VeggiesTry out these recipes for Tahini Dip and Goat Cheese Dip for a raw and simple snack. If you don’t have time to make your own, buy a fresh tub of hummus with carrots and celery for dipping.
  4. Don’t Skimp on the Fats—If you don’t like the way your veggies taste, you won’t eat them. Start out by cooking them using olive oil or pastured butter. It’s better than no veggies at all, and will help you to acquire a taste for vegetables.  Before you know it, you’ll be craving what you once despised.
  5. Spice It Up—If you like it hot, add chili peppers and  spicy sauces to make your veggies more palatable. You can also use sesame or peanut oil to add flavor, or experiment with your favorite herbs and spices.
  6. Set Aside the Steamer—Steaming vegetables is a great way to improve flavor and hold in nutrients, but don’t forget the many different cooking options available. Brussels sprouts, for example, are delicious oven-roasted or sauteed.

CNN’s Eatocracy just released a big list of suggestions for preparing vegetables. They recommend that if you can’t go organic and local, at least buy conventional or packaged options—it’s better than eating none at all.  If you pick up bagged salad or pre-chopped broccoli, “it doesn’t mean you’re lazy, an insufficient parent or, heaven forbid, a ‘bad foodie.’”

Here at Earth Eats, we tend to agree.  Vegetables are full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and low in heart-disease causing fats. They keep you full longer and can be prepared hundreds of different ways.  If you’re looking for ways to fulfill that New Year’s resolution to be healthier, veggies are a good place to start.

Sarah Kaiser

Sarah Kaiser is a student-turned-townie living in Bloomington, Indiana. A social media specialist at Solution Tree, she spends her days tweeting and her nights foraging at the local summer market for new tastes and flavors. And occasionally rocking out on the ukulele.

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