Eating vegetables has well-known health benefits; no one denies that. Still, achieving the recommended daily vegetable intake can be challenging, sometimes even impossible – five servings of vegetables every day! Vegetables include vegetables, roots, fruits, berries, and mushrooms. You might think there are plenty of options, but only 14% of Finnish men and 22% of women eat the recommended five servings of vegetables daily. Globally, the result is more or less the same.
Why don’t we eat enough vegetables?
Sometimes, the reason for not consuming vegetables is laziness and cost. Most often, it’s because we get stuck eating the same basic salad day after day. Then we get bored. It’s entirely natural. After all, no one can eat the same thing every day.
When you diversify your vegetable consumption, you eat more without even noticing it.
I’ve been in the same situation. The workday is over, and it’s time for dinner. Chicken pasta (a favorite of teenagers) or maybe fish patties with mashed potatoes (my favorite). Tomatoes and cucumbers as vegetables. Just like yesterday and the day before. There’s nothing wrong with tomatoes and cucumbers. They are easy and good vegetables. Available year-round. But you can’t eat them every day. That’s why they can easily be left off the plate.
When did you last choose vegetables other than the “basic salad”?
Eating five servings of vegetables daily is challenging if they are dull and tasteless.
Here are five good tips for diversifying your vegetable intake:
1. Stock up on vegetables at home – spend enough time in the produce section
- Have 2-3 different seasonal fruits available (such as kiwi, apple, and banana).
- Always have long-lasting vegetables in the fridge, such as carrots and bell peppers. Perishable vegetables like tomatoes and lettuce need to be purchased more often.
- Explore the freezer! There are stir-fried vegetables, sliced roots, other vegetable mixes, baby carrots, snap peas, and more. There’s a variety!
- Frozen berries and often smoothie fruits are also in the freezer.
- Canned fruits (such as pineapple and peach) and my favorite, beets, can be found in the pantry.
- Ready-to-use beans and lentils are also available.
2. Simplify your life with ready-made vegetable products
I often use ready-made mixed-green salads for everyday salads. Baby carrots and cherry tomatoes are an easy way to get even a teenager to eat vegetables. Rinse, and they’re ready to eat!
Additionally, I use pre-shredded grated salads to increase the vegetable content of my meals. Or make a tasty coleslaw salad that lasts in the fridge with this easy vegan recipe.
3. Modify recipes and add vegetables to familiar dishes
- Add tomatoes or different-colored bell peppers to casseroles.
- Add carrots (or pre-made julienne vegetables) to casseroles.
- Use tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes in sauces.
- Add more root vegetables to soups.
- Mix carrots, cauliflower, and spinach into mashed potatoes.
- Cook carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, or beans alongside your side dish.
4. Opt for vegetarian or vegetable-based meals.
- Try new vegetarian dishes.
- Prepare a hearty salad for the whole family, such as a chicken salad that everyone will enjoy.
- Warm vegetable soup is perfect for cold weather. Make a larger batch and heat up a suitable portion each time.
5. Think innovatively – explore different ways to use vegetables
- Hummus on bread? Or other vegetable or root vegetable spreads.
- Melon on bread?
- Grated vegetables?
- Vegetable sticks and dip for snacks?
- Carrot buns?
- Berry porridge?
Which tip will you try first? Maybe even today?
Do you have another tip? We’d love to hear it. There can never be too many tips!
Get excited to try them out – soon, you’ll eat five servings of vegetables a day! 🙂
Last time, I wrote about tools to help you determine your current vegetable intake level. You can find easy tips for that here.
Or are you already consuming five servings of vegetables a day?