If there’s one thing that all weight loss plans have in common, it’s eating vegetables. Lots of them.
We all know about the benefits: vegetables contain a lot of vitamins and have very little calories and carbohydrates. Another great thing is that they keep your bowel working properly: I’ve just added a lot more fruits and vegetables to my diet as I started my weight loss plan (I’m following Whole30) and I’m now visiting the bathroom a lot more regularly than before.
However, there might be reasons you’re not eating enough vegetables:
Perhaps you don’t like them much, or you’re running out of ideas of what to do with them?
That’s why I’m writing this post: To give you a list of 30 ways to add vegetables to your diet and ideas that you can try at home.
30 ways to eat more vegetables
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1. Add just one new vegetable to your favorite dish
If you think that you don’t like any vegetables you have to start slowly. Choose your favorite dish and think of a vegetable that might work with it. As you have so much everything else that you love on your plate you might not even notice the vegetable when you eat. Or, it might even make the dish better!
If you’re not sure how to cook a vegetable you can try it first when you go out and eat at a restaurant. If you liked it (or at least thought it was OK), try to cook it the same way at home.
2. Make your favorite “treat meals” healthier
Fancy some pizza? Have just half a pizza and fill the other half of your plate with a salad. That’s a combination that is surprisingly delicious and you’ll get half as much calories plus a lot less bloated feeling when you’re done.
You can also have your hamburger with a salad or a steak with warm vegetables instead of fries.
3. Make salads
Salads are a great way to add vegetables to your diet. There are hundreds of ways you can make a salad. I used to think that salads are boring, but learn to make them and you cannot believe you never ate them before.
The key to a good salad is a good dressing and tasty ingredients. Don’t make the mistake of having just lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes. Add plenty of protein, some nuts or seeds for crunch and a simple dressing.
4. ”Hide” them in your food
When I was a child my mum always struggled with the fact that I hated onions. I obviously didn’t realize that I didn’t hate the taste of them, it was just the fact that I could see them in the dishes that made me always pick them out. My mum became a master in hiding onions in my food by chopping them really small or using onion powder.
You don’t have to be this sneaky (unless you have picky kids), but ”hiding” – well just adding really – vegetables to your food is a great option when you want to eat more of them.
You can add vegetables to different types of casseroles, lasagna, pasta sauces, pizza, meat loaf and omelets.
Easy vegetables to add are onions, tomatoes, carrots, (bell) peppers and mushrooms (not a vegetable really).
5. Make your sandwiches tastier with vegetables
We all love Subway sandwiches don’t we? Make your own ones at home by adding lettuce, cucumbers, onions, jalapenos etc. to your sandwiches.
6. Make stir frys
Making stir frys is an easy way to add vegetables to your diet. This is how you make a stir fry:
- Heat some oil in a pan
- Add a protein (for example chicken, beef or tofu) and cook until brown
- Add any chopped vegetables of your choice, stir and cook for a couple of minutes
- Add a sauce
- If you want, you can also add some cooked rice or noodles
- Serve once everything is cooked.
Here’s a simple stir fry vegetables recipe from Jamie Oliver. Remember, you can use any vegetables and add protein if you want.
7. Make soups
If you like soups then they are an amazing way to add vegetables to your diet. You can use pretty much any vegetables, for example (sweet) potatoes, onions, leeks and carrots.
There’s a great article on Epicurious on how to make a pureed vegetable soup.
8. Make one pot meals
I love one pot meals, stews in particular, at winter. I usually use a crockpot but you can cook them in the oven as well.
The great thing about one pot meals is that they are so easy – you don’t need to worry about side dishes. Just chop your meat and vegetables, but them in the casserole and you’re done.
I like this stew by Jamie Oliver, it has a lot of root vegetables in it.
9. Peel and chop them and put to containers in the fridge
It is a good start if you’ve managed to buy the vegetables but if you don’t do anything about them they might end up going bad at the back of your fridge.
Peel and chop your vegetables as soon as you get home and store them in air tight containers in your fridge. These raw vegetables will make a great snack, just add a hummus or other dip and you’re good to go. The fact that you’ve already chopped them will make adding them to your dishes a lot easier as well.
Where you place your chopped vegetables in your fridge is important too. Put them to the front of the fridge so that they will be the first thing you see when you open the door.
10. Make chips!
Did you know that you can make healthy chips from many vegetables? Nom Nom Paleo will tell you how to make kale, Brussels sprout and mushroom chips while Spoon Fork Bacon has a recipe on chips from root vegetables.
11. Make roast vegetables
I absolutely love roast vegetables. What makes them so easy is that you can use any vegetables that you have at hand. Just chop them, put in a bowl, add olive oil, salt and pepper (+ other spices or herbs of your choice), spread them on a roasting pan and cook in the oven until they are done.
Here are just some of the vegetables that you can use: sweet potatoes, rutabagas/swedes, turnips, carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, zucchinis, eggplant and Brussels sprouts.
12. Cook vegetables together with your beef, pork and chicken roasts
Are you planning on having a Sunday roast? Cook your potatoes and vegetables with your roast. The vegetables will cook in the juices from your meat which will add a lot of flavor to them. Root vegetables such as carrots and turnips work particularly well.
13. Replace pasta or rice with vegetables
If you want to eat more vegetables, and have less carbohydrates, then you could replace your pasta by using spiraled vegetables such as zucchini. I use Westmark Spiralizer for this purpose. If you don’t have a spiralizer then you can use a vegetable peeler as well.
Try making cauliflower rice or couscous as well:
14. Replace bread with lettuce
If you are on a low carbohydrate diet you could try replacing your bread with a lettuce:
Just take a couple of large leaves of your favorite leafy green, stack them and add your favorite fillings to make a lighter sandwich or a wrap.
15. Make fries from healthier options
You can make fries from different types of vegetables – take a look at this list of 10 ways to make fries without a single potato.
16. Choose vegetables that are in season
Not only will they be cheaper but they will definitely be tastier as well. Cooking Light has a guide on what vegetables are in season and when.
I was first inspired by the thought of eating fruit and vegetables that are local and in season years ago when I read the book French Women Don’t Get Fat. If you’re looking for an entertaining book that has a story line, is related to dieting and might perhaps change the way you think about food, take a look at this one. I really liked it.
17. Buy vegetables that have been grown locally
Visit a local farmer’s market if there’s one nearby. When you buy vegetables that are grown locally they are very likely in season and you can tell the difference in taste.
18. Try growing your own vegetables
If you have a garden then you really cannot make vegetables any more local than by growing them yourself. The pride you’ll have seeing them grow will quite probably make you want to eat them as well. Grow your favorite vegetables and eat them fresh or preserve for winter.
19. Eat them pickled!
If you really do not like raw or cooked vegetables then try pickled vegetables. Pickled vegetables retain most of the vitamins and they may also be good for your gut flora.
20. Add vegetables to smoothies
I love easy and simple smoothies. Most smoothies have fruits and berries but you can very well add vegetables too! I like using leafy greens such as spinach or kale. You can add quite a lot of spinach to your smoothie before you start to notice it in the taste. You can also use cucumber, ginger or avocados.
21. Juice them
Eating the whole vegetable is in general better than juicing: This way you’ll eat the healthy fiber as well. But if you don’t like whole vegetables or just want to add some variation, you can juice the vegetables too.
Juicing for Health has a great article on how to make green juices.
22. Eat your vegetables with cheese
Cheese just makes everything taste a lot better doesn’t it? Here are a couple of recipes you could try:
23. Add bacon to your vegetables
In addition to cheese, bacon is another ingredient that will bring your vegetables to another level 🙂 Try these:
24. Steam them
Steaming is a great way to add green vegetables such as peas, green beans or cauliflowers to your diet. This is also a very simple method to cook your frozen vegetables. You can eat the steamed vegetables with butter or olive oil and add fresh herbs or spices such as garlic.
25. Grill them!
Summer and barbecue season is a wonderful time to experiment with vegetables. You can make vegetable skewers (bell peppers, zucchinis and onions are particularly good for this purpose) and grilled asparagus is my personal favorite.
26. Try to prepare the vegetable in different ways
I’m not too keen on steamed Brussels sprouts, but I really like them roasted. Try to always find more than one way to cook a vegetable. Try different recipes: You probably use the vegetable in your side dish anyway so if you don’t like the vegetable in your dish, it won’t spoil the meal for you completely.
27. Season your vegetables well
Use olive oil or butter. Add salt and peppers. Be adventurous with herbs and spices. You can also use balsamic vinegar or lemon juice to add flavor to your vegetables.
28. Add vegetables to your bread and cakes
I haven’t baked for ages but when I did I usually made bread and often added a lot of shredded carrot to the dough – and I mean a lot. It’s amazing how many carrots a loaf of bread can contain! In addition to carrots, you can add vegetables such as onions, olives, tomatoes and zucchini to your bread.
And it doesn’t have to be just bread: You can bake carrot cakes, pumpkin pies etc.
29. Have some salsa!
Surely you love salsa? Make your own and add to any dish. Salsa is a great dip or a side dish and is full of healthy vitamins and other antioxidants.
Buzzfeed has compiled a list of 21 salsa recipes
30. Make a personal project of it
Why not make a project of it? Simply decide to add new vegetables to your diet.
You can for example pick a vegetable and name it ”the vegetable of the month”. Try to then add that vegetable in different ways to your diet every week during that month.
I didn’t like vegetables growing up, I was an adult when I finally learned to eat many vegetables like onions, bell peppers and tomatoes! Well, I’m still not a fan of uncooked tomatoes 🙂
Anyway, it’s never too late to learn to love vegetables. Just try to add a little bit of vegetables to each meal – it all adds up.
I hope you found this list helpful! What’s your favorite way to eat vegetables?