Written by Jaz Popa
Getting enough servings of vegetables in a day can be a difficult task, especially if you have picky eaters around or you yourself have a limited diet. Vegetables can be very fun and exciting, but sometimes eating a side of veggies with every meal can get boring. Here are some tips and tricks for getting more veggies in your diet in new and interesting ways so you can pack your meals full of vitamins and nutrients!
One very simple way to get more veggies in your diet is to throw them into sauces. Whether you’re making a red pasta sauce or a creamy sauce to go over a chicken breast, add some veggies! Just about anything will taste good, so go through your fridge and use up whatever is getting old. Try grating or dicing the vegetables small. This way you’ll get a nice, almost meat-like, texture for your sauce. One of my favorite things to do is grate carrots into my sweeter sauces and zucchini into my savory sauces. It adds texture, flavor, and nutrients!
Check out these veggie-loaded sauces
Adding vegetables to your smoothie is another great way to increase your veggie intake. Frozen veggies like spinach, kale, carrots, avocado, or even cauliflower, are great in smoothies. You won’t taste them, and they really pack a nutritional punch. Carrots will add some sweetness, avocado will add creaminess, and cauliflower is great if you don’t like the color that kale or spinach makes smoothies.
Check out these delicious smoothies with vegetables
Adding veggies to ground meat is great because not only will you be getting more vitamins and nutrients in your diet, but you’ll also be stretching your food dollars! Meat can be expensive so cutting it with something cheap, like beans, will make it last longer and save you money. Try adding mashed beans or lentils into meat get some more fiber in your meat all while keeping the protein high. This works great for taco meat, meatballs, chili, or even burger patties. You can also add grated carrot or zucchini to meat. This works really well for meatloaves, meatballs, chili, or if your putting ground meat into a sauce.
Check out these ground meat recipes that add in extra veggies
Spaghettis and Meat Balls
SOUPS AND STEWS
Soups and stews are great meals to add extra veggies in because it can really bulk them up. This is another way to stretch your food dollars and make your meals last longer. Adding things like beans, potatoes, greens, or winter squashes will add a lot of volume and flavor to your soups and stews. Since soups and stews simmer for longer periods of time, adding these extra veggies will add a lot of extra flavor. Not only will this increase the nutrition in your meals, but it will also decrease the need to add salt for flavor.
Also, adding whatever old veggies you have in the fridge is a great way to use them up because it won’t matter if they’re soft. Canned and frozen veggies also work well in soups and stews because the texture isn’t very important. They will be getting soft in the meal anyway.
Check out these veggie packed soups and stews
Dips are a fun and unexpected way to get more veggies in your diet. If you’re making a dressing like ranch, Italian, or Caesar, add in some grated onion, carrot or cucumber. You can even add this into a premade dip or dressing. It will add texture, flavor, and freshness, as well as extra nutrients.
If you’re making a creamy dip like a cheese or cream-based dip, try adding in mashed white beans. It’ll add fiber, protein, and a nice creaminess to the dip. Adding avocados to creamy dips is also a great option.
You can also add things like small, diced zucchini or cauliflower to chunkier dips. One of my favorite things to do is to add riced cauliflower to buffalo chicken dip. It adds an awesome texture, and you can’t taste much of the difference between the cauliflower and chicken.
Instead of serving dips with chips, you can also try serving them with julienned veggies like cucumber, carrots or celery to increase your veggie intake.
Check out these awesome veggie-loaded dips
Pasta dishes are another great way to add veggies to your diet. Not only will they add vitamins and nutrients to your diet, but they will also add color. Remember we eat with our eyes. So, if you serve a vibrant, colorful plate of pasta for dinner, you’re going to be excited to eat it, and in turn, be excited to eat your veggies! And remember, colorful pasta dishes don’t have to be warm! Cold pasta salads are a delicious way to eat more veggies, especially in the summer.
Check out these colorful pasta dishes
MUFFINS AND DESSERTS
Grated carrots and zucchini are very versatile. They are easy to throw into anything and that goes for desserts too. Grated zucchini and carrots work great in things like breads, muffins, and even cakes. Think zucchini bread or carrot cake. However, you can extend them much further than those two desserts. They can work great in almost any type of muffin or cake. Not only will it add nutrition, but it will add a lot of moisture to the dessert so the texture will never be dry.
Beans and sweet potatoes also work great in fudgy desserts like brownies. It adds a nice creaminess. Try mashed black beans in chocolate brownies and mashed white beans in blondies!
Check out these desserts with veggies
Now let’s talk about everybody’s favorite meal, pizza! Pizza is a great vessel for veggies. If you’re ordering pizza to go, add some veggies on top. Instead of getting a meat lovers, try getting a veggie lovers pie. If you still want some meat on the pizza, try a combo of peperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers. This will satisfy your cravings for salty meats and melty cheese, but also get some more veggies in your diet!
However, if you’re making your pizza at home, try making your own sauce as well as loading up the veg topping. Making your own red sauce will give you the nutrition of tomatoes, but also remove some of that added salt and sugar that’s often in premade sauces. A win-win!
Check out this awesome veggie lovers pizza recipe
Breakfast is often a time that people forget about veggies. It’s usually just a carbs and protein meal. However, adding vegetables to your eggs is a very simple and delicious way to boost the nutrition in your diet. Adding veggies to your eggs is really a great way to start your day because first thing in the morning you’re starting off with a cheap source of protein and a lot of vitamins and nutrients.
Adding things like mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, spinach, or onions will taste great in an egg scramble, bake, or omelet.
A breakfast burrito is another fun way to add veggies to eggs. You can add beans, avocado, and tomatoes to the burrito to make a tasty southwest inspired egg breakfast.
Check out these egg and veggie recipes
HERBS AND AROMATICS
We often forget that spices, herbs, and aromatics pack a big nutritional punch. Don’t forget, fresh herbs are also considered leafy greens! Fresh and dried herbs can contain a lot of vitamins and nutrients. So do onions and garlic! So, when you’re cooking, don’t forget to add these to all your meals. They will add loads of flavor and nutritional value. They will also decrease the need to flavor with salt, so you will be consuming less sodium!
Besides seasoning your meals with herbs and aromatics, try garnishing your plate with herbs. It will add color and freshness as well as nutrients. You can also try replacing lettuce with herbs on sandwiches or adding herbs to your drinks. Mint in lemonade and rosemary ice teas are delicious. Herb and garlic/ onion spreads are also a very flavorful way to get more herbs and aromatics in your diet.
Check out these herb and aromatic filled recipes
Olive Oil and Herb Bread Dip
Photo and recipe by Peas and Crayons
Eating veggies can be very fun and cooking is an art. So, get creative! All these ideas for adding more veggies in your diet are unexpected. Play around with it and find even more interesting ways to add veggies to things. You can add any vegetable to just about anything and it will be delicious. Just think about the texture you’re going for and cut your veggies accordingly. One simple rule of thumb to follow is that what smells good together, tastes good together. So, try something new and boost your diet with extra flavor, nutrients, and vitamins!