Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More Greens, Please!

If there's one thing I tell my clients ad nauseum it's that they need to eat more veggies. "How," they say, eyes full of exasperation, "am I going to do that??"

Let's face it. A lot of us were not raised to love our vegetables. And that's a real shame, because veggies are the powerhouses of the nutritional kingdom. They are brimming with vitamins, minerals, disease-fighting phytonutrients, and fiber, all while being extremely low in calories. They're versatile, colorful, and fun to cook with (or just eat as they are). 


But if you're not a convert to the vegetable kingdom (and even if you are), there are lots of ways to squeeze vegetables into your day. Here are just a few ideas:

1) Make soup!! If you have a slow cooker, you'll make your life even easier. Just throw in whatever vegetables, cut into chunks, that you feel like (some ideas: sweet potatoes, carrots, zucchini, parsnips, rutabagas, turnips, okra, kale, tomatoes), and add a lean protein (I love adding seitan) and a whole grain (I use pearl barley a lot), and cover it all with vegetable broth. Throw the cooker on high for about 6 hours, and there you go-- hot soup full of veggies when you come home from work. :)

2) Pile greens, sprouts, tomatoes, and/or thinly sliced raw or grilled vegetables of all kinds on your sandwiches.

3) Make vegetable purees and use them as delicious dips or spreads! This website has some nice recipes: http://www.fitnessandfreebies.com/local/archive/vegpurees.html

4) Make pita pizzas (use a sprouted grain pita like Ezekiel pita bread as a base, and top with tomato sauce and a little low-fat cheese (I use Daiya vegan cheese, personally), and top it with veggies.

5) Throw 'em in lasagna, meatloaf, casseroles, burritos, quesadillas... use your imagination! One of my favorite last-minute meals is to take a sprouted grain tortilla, cover it with fat-free refried black beans, and then pile on different bags of frozen veggies (spinach, corn, butternut squash, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots). I usually crumble in some Field Roast vegan "chorizo" (it's made from whole grains and lentils) and top it off with Daiya cheez and throw it in the microwave for maybe 5 minutes or so. Top it off with a little guacamole and lots of salsa. It's always a hit at my house!

6) Make kale chips! Trust me-- people love these. All you do is take some kale (I like to use dinosaur kale, but take your pick), wash and dry it, spray a cookie sheet with a little oil, cut the kale into bite sized pieces, and spread them in one layer on the cookie sheet. Spray the pieces with a bit more oil and add salt and pepper as desired. Bake at 350 or 400 till they dry out. You can do a similar thing with sweet potatoes-- cut them into thinnish rounds, spray them, and bake them till they're cooked through. Great substitute for sweet potato fries!

How do you like your veggies? Share your ideas here!

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