How many times did you hear “eat your vegetables” in childhood? A lot, I’m guessing. But while most people grow up to enjoy veggies, they’ll never be as appetizing as a chocolate chip cookie.
Still, we need greens as much when we’re older as we did when we were kids — in fact, they promote healthy aging. If you’re looking to eat more veggies in the new year but you’re sick of salads, fear not. We’ve found three easy, social-media-approved hacks for upping your veggie intake more creatively.
Why should we eat more veggies, anyway?
Everyone says it, but have you ever wondered why we’re supposed to eat our vegetables? It isn’t some conspiracy marketing scheme — they really are important for overall well-being. When you consistently eat the daily recommended portion of vegetables (2-3 cups), you support your health in a variety of ways. Leafy greens, in particular, may lower your risk of early death and diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease; greens also support healthy weight.
Still tempted to reach for the snack drawer instead of the vegetable crisper? A recent study linked high consumption of plant foods to lower overall stress in adults of all ages. Another study suggests that eating a high amount of carotenoid-containing vegetables, like carrots and tomatoes, can give your skin an even healthier glow than the sun does. Ultimately, veggies can help you live a longer, healthier, and happier life — and no chocolate chip cookie can do all that.
How To Eat More Veggies
Eating vegetables in their whole, fresh form is your best bet. However, if their texture turns you off, try consuming them in powder form; check out this surprisingly yummy Supergreens powder from Enso Superfoods. By now you probably understand that snacking on vegetables helps your body function better — but picking veggies over comfort foods is easier said than done. To help you out, we’ve found three quick and easy hacks that’ll make it less of a chore.
Hack #1: Add a Bag of Coleslaw
When it comes to forming new habits, convenience helps a lot. That’s why Instagram user @real.life.nutritionist recommends dumping a store-bought bag of coleslaw (just the chopped vegetables without added dressing) into your meal to quickly increase the veggie content without much added effort. In her video (which you can watch below), she proposes adding coleslaw to your homemade soup by sautéing it alongside your onions, carrots, and celery before adding broth. In her caption, she notes that this hack also works great with salads, rice dishes, and stir fries. Undressed coleslaw has such a mild flavor and satisfying crunch that you can add it to a variety of dishes for a little punch of nutrition.
Hack #2: Chop ‘Em and Bag ‘Em
Convenience is key when changing habits. The reason you reach for those stale pretzel rods in the pantry over a fresh, wholesome, balanced meal isn’t because you like their distinctive crunch: It’s because you’re hungry right now. TikTok user and psychologist Dr. Rebecca Leslie (@drrebeccaleslie) recommends washing, chopping, and bagging up your vegetables for snacks as soon as you get home from the grocery store. That way, you’ll have fresh slices of cucumbers easily at hand to dip in your hummus the next time you’re starving and foraging in the kitchen for a snack. Check out her video below.
Hack #3: Cook Your Pasta in Veggies
Sustainable, healthy eating is about letting yourself enjoy all of your favorite foods — in moderation. That’s why we love this tip from The Pasta Queen herself: She liquefies nutrient-packed greens and cooks her pasta in the veggie liquid (see, there’s no need to sacrifice the carbs!). She also adds an egg and some cheese, which helps bring this dish up to 60+ grams of protein per portion. Talk about a meal that’s fit for royalty. Check out her video below.
Hopefully, these three hacks will help you on your quest to eat more veggies this year. Keep chowing down on those greens, and you’ll be sure to feel your very best in 2023 and beyond.