Do you want to eat more vegetables but don’t feel inspired or don’t know how? Here are 10 ways to help make eating vegetables fun and tasty! I’ll be sharing many of the recipes on Home Baked Joy soon, so be sure to check back often!
1. Green Smoothies
The first way to increase your vegetables in a way that kids will love is to make green smoothies. There are hundreds of variations and recipes for green smoothies. I have one almost every day, and it is seldom the same. I like variety and using what I have on hand. That said, there are a few key ingredients I want to mention here. The first key ingredient is obviously your greens. Spinach, kale, swiss chard, broccoli leaves, beet leaves, etc.
My favorite greens to add are baby spinach (or regular, but it has an earthier taste to it) or kale. The second key ingredient I use in my green smoothies is actually unexpected. A slice of LIME.
Adding a bit of lime to your smoothie (peel and all) adds a freshness that you can’t get without it. Plus, it has Vitamin C which will help boost your immune system. I also like to add orange, banana, and/or pineapple to sweeten my smoothies. From there, the sky is the limit! Frozen grapes, persimmons, apples, pomegranate, peaches, boysenberries, and strawberries are just a few of the many fruit combinations I have added to my smoothies. It is such a tradition now that my daughter (age 6) asks for some every morning, so that is saying something.
The last key ingredient I like to add is a source of protein. There are several options. You can add a scoop of vanilla flavored protein powder, plain (or honey – that was yummy!) Greek yogurt, kefir (make sure to sweeten your smoothie with fruit or honey – this packs a punch!), or PB2.
2. “Fried” rice
Another easy way to eat more vegetables is to add them to rice. You can use frozen mixed vegetables, chopped kale, leftovers, etc. This is a really quick way to extend a meal and the get kids to eat them as well.
Adding vegetables to rice is another good way to try something new. The above dish has a Daikon radish in it and Swiss chard. I am amazed at how sweet the radish became after sauteing it for several minutes. I added a little soy sauce and pineapple and it tasted like a sweet and sour success! My kids all ate it, which was awesome. All it was missing was chicken:)
This rice dish had leftover ham, kale and frozen mixed veggies. Add a little butter, salt and pepper, and voila! Dinner is served!
3. Pasta Dishes
I LOVE adding vegetables to pasta dishes. My husband is quarter Italian, so pasta is one of his love languages. Adding kale to the above dish was a pleasant surprise and super yummy.
In the pasta dish pictured above photo here I used cauliflower as a base for the creamy sauce. It is a healthy alternative to traditional macaroni and cheese and SO tasty!
Another great use for cauliflower is to use it INSTEAD of pasta. Chop it small and you can make your own cauliflower macaroni and cheese dish.
My kids DEVOURED it. The same vegetable substitution for pasta goes for spaghetti and lasagna.
I made spaghetti squash and served it with a rich homemade red sauce and it was a huge hit. I’ve also made lasagna using eggplant or zucchini sliced thin in place of the noodles. The kids loved it, and they ate more vegetables in the process! Oh, and don’t forget sauces!!! I love adding chopped carrots, shredded eggplant or zucchini to my tomato based spaghetti sauces. It adds amazing flavor and a richness you just can’t get without it.
Add vegetables to your eggs! Wait, what? If you haven’t tried it, you are missing out! Broccoli and onions, chopped small, are an especially good combination for your eggs.
I also love adding jalapenos, peppers, onion, and tomatoes to my eggs. It give them a nice kick and you get your vegetables on top of that!
You can also try boiling potatoes, dicing them, and adding them to eggs as well. Super yummy!
Stir frying vegetables is a really quick and fast way to make dinner. Add some rice or noodles and you have a complete meal for the whole family!
This lo mein dish included kale, sun dried tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and onions. The taste was surprisingly good and my kids devoured it. Tons of vegetables!
In addition to complete meals, I also like to stir-fry my vegetables for a side dish like these Asian Green Beans pictured above or fresh summer vegetables.
This one seems obvious but I wanted to mention it. Eating salads is a great way to increase your vegetable intake. Salads DON’T have to be boring. Add some nuts, avocado, meat, fruit, onions…the opportunities are endless!
This next salad is one of my favorites!
I love taking black beans, corn, lettuce, and tomatoes and combining them together for a fresh Southwest Salad. The secret ingredient? Lime! Take a lime and squeeze the juice all over the top! You can also make your own vinaigrette to drizzle on top. Super yummy and super healthy!
Or make a chipotle inspired taco salad bowl!
Don’t forget about eggs as a source or protein on your salads! Eggs, bacon, peppers, romaine, all drizzled with a light ranch. Yes, I can eat my vegetables served like this!
Fajitas are also another quick and easy way to eat more vegetables. I love adding peppers, onions, tomatoes, and topping it all off with guacamole and Greek yogurt (in place of sour cream). Chicken fajitas are also super yummy. My children are used to fajitas and I’ve had no complaints. They are usually gone before I can even take a photo!
8. Roasted or Raw
There is something said for the simplicity of a veggie platter. If you pre-cut vegetables and store them in the fridge, it makes a quick snack when the kids are hungry and a healthy alternative to chips.
Another way to present vegetables is to make “ants on a log” with celery, peanut butter, and raisins. Or combine apple slices and celery sticks to dip in almond butter.
Another favorite way I like to eat my vegetables is to roast them. It brings out a flavor that is intense and oh so good!
Just drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 30-40 min. So good!
I can’t say enough about putting vegetables into baked goods. I made pumpkin biscuits (shown above) and my kids devoured them. You can add pumpkin to your pancakes, zucchini to bread, green tomatoes or carrots to cake. The list can go on and on!
I also like baking vegetables into casseroles, like in this Turkey Divan pictured above!
Probably my favorite way to eat more vegetables is to add them to soups. There are so many variations I can’t possibly list them all here. I will give just a few examples to inspire you. Above is a bean and bacon vegetable soup with potatoes, carrots, green onions, tomatoes, and chives.
Using an immersion blender, like a Vitamix, is a great way to eat a ton of vegetables in a small bowl. This Butternut Squash soup had onions, carrots, fresh organic fennel, and of course, butternut squash!
I use my Vitamix on a daily basis, sometimes several times a day. Too many tomatoes? No problem, just whip up some tomato basil soup and you are on your way!
Or how about some smooth and creamy potato leek soup? (It has potatoes, leeks, onions, and chives)
Chili and corn bread has tomatoes, onions, and green peppers!
For the really brave, make a potato and beet borscht soup!
Finally, my favorite soup, Chicken Gumbo Soup! This soup is SO forgiving!!! You can add okra, eggplant, kale, carrots, celery, green beans, peppers, zucchini, corn, you name it, it can probably go in. The sausages and chicken mask the flavor and blend everything together beautifully! Serve over brown rice and you have a complete meal. My children devour this so that there almost NEVER any leftovers.
As you can see, getting your vegetables can be fun, flavorful, and exciting! Yet, most Americans don’t get close to the 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Make a goal for the New Year to boost your immune system and improve your health by eating more veggies! Why not today?