No matter who you ask, when people think of a healthy diet they automatically think of vegetables. Almost every dietary protocol out there suggests that we should eat more!
Vegetables and greens offer a wide variety of nutrients, fiber for moving things along, and anti-oxidants for fighting free radicals. Unfortunately many, if not most, Americans eat very few vegetables and never any greens!
5 ways I struggle with eating more vegetables:
- During the winter months they are available only from the grocery store… trekked in from warmer climates. For me, this means that they don’t taste near as good since they are often picked before they are at their ripest.
- The produce in our smaller grocery stores (the ones closest to our home) tend to begin to rot fairly quickly, sometimes I buy only half of what I’d really like simply because they aren’t fresh! They also offer very little in terms of variety. In one store I can’t even buy a bunch of kale and the bagged spinach is super pricey!
- It can take longer to prepare vegetables for me. The chopping and slicing definitely take some time when I’m making meals.
- They don’t taste as good as chocolate. I mean really… Veggies are great and all, but when I reach for a snack and it’s either the M&Ms I had hidden away or a handful of carrots, what do you think is going to happen? Either you (I) grab the chocolate or I miserably eat the carrots wishing I had chocolate instead.
- Greens, other than kale, are hard for me to find ways to eat on a regular basis. I think it’s a texture thing for me.
Excuses are just that though – an excuse. And eating more vegetables and greens can increase your health dramatically if you aren’t already getting in at least 4-6 cups per day. (if you are, shoot for 7-9 cups!)
5 ways to kill my excuses
- Deal with it. Plain and simple, I just have to deal with the fact that many veggies won’t taste as fresh as during the summer. I’ve also found that during these months I prefer to use many vegetables frozen during this time, like corn, green beans, and broccoli. Or I’ll use a dip to give them a bit more flavor. Adding them to soups also helps as the single flavors aren’t as important as the whole.
- Make time in my schedule to get to the bigger supermarket that carries higher quality produce (with more variety)! And when I go I need to focus on shopping the produce section first and filling up my cart. Having a stock of frozen vegetables is also helpful in the weeks where I have to choose the smaller store.
- I always kick myself for not taking an hour to chop and prepare my weeks worth of veggies. When I’m able to wash, chop, and get all my snacking veggies ready to go in the fridge, I’m much more inclined to grab some carrots and homemade ranch or celery and almond butter. I can also get things chopped up for a quick stir fry as a quick lunch or dinner. And speaking of a quick veggie meal… having lettuce and salad veggies chopped up makes grabbing a big salad for a meal really easy! I toss in a bit of protein and a great homemade dressing and I’m all set. <—note to self – do this every week!
- I can’t buy sweets. I know there are people out there that say if you simply have access to them, or over eat them, that you’ll lose your desire for sweets. Nope. Not me. And it doesn’t matter how long I’ve been without them. I have found that I am an emotional eater when it comes to sweets, and the emotion that triggers them is overwhelm or stress. So for me, in this stage of life, it’s important that I don’t have those foods in the house. This makes the already cut up veggies a sure thing.
- I love sautéed kale and have it multiple times a week! But other greens are not my favorite. Instead, I steam them and freeze, adding them to my smoothies. And more recently I’ve been using a powdered greens mix to drink once a day, either in water or a smoothie. Todd has been getting this drink every morning as well. (I have a hard time getting veggies into him during the day while he’s at work!)
Eat your greens!
The organic greens I’ve been using were sent to me to review from Dr. Mercola. (FDA disclosure a sec – I did not receive any financial compensation from them and the opinions stated are my own.)
At first I was hesitant to accept the product to review because I’ve tried a few powders in the past and never really liked them. One popular brand ended up in the back of my cupboard for a couple of years until I finally tossed it.
Knowing I needed to up the intake of veggies in my diet right now, as well as greatly increase it for Todd, I said yes and I’m glad I did.
The greens mix includes not only powdered greens and veggies, but an organic mushroom blend, specific antioxidants, a blend of spirulina and chlorella, as well as adaptogenic herbs like maca and rhodiola, so it’s a powerhouse of nutrients.
The mix itself is also a fine powder and doesn’t end up chunky when you try to stir it in water which was an issue I’ve had before. If you let it sit for a while it doesn’t tend to settle at the bottom of the glass, but easily stirs back in.
Organic Greens also tastes good (thank goodness, or else Todd would never drink it!). You can mix it with 6 ounces of water or blend with smoothies. Either way it tastes good, though I do love it in my smoothies.
I don’t seem to have an issue getting in enough veggies when life is running smoothly and I’m on top of my game. But in times of busyness or more stress, I love that I have options like this to help me get the nutrients I need without causing me more overwhelm. (overwhelm = stress eating junk food)
And they taste good enough that I don’t mind drinking it everyday!
Do you have problems getting in enough vegetables and greens in your diet? Let me know why in the comments and we’ll see if you can kill your excuses too!