Regardless of age, our bodies need veggies.
From pregnancy through the end of life, veggies are part of the building blocks of nutrition and optimal health. Many of the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals we need to support our bodily functions and prevent disease come from our diet. Eating a wide variety of veggies covers many bases and keeps us healthy and vibrant.
Eating the Rainbow
Veggies come in nearly every color of the rainbow. From the deepest purple of a Japanese eggplant. To the brightest orange of a wholesome carrot. All the way to the bright green of a brussels sprout. The colors are awesome and enticing.
The key to optimal health is eating a variety of color each day. It doesn’t take much to get the recommended serving of most veggies and mixing and matching is part of the fun. The more colorful, usually the healthier!
Adding More Veggies to Your Diet
I’m like a darn rabbit. It’s not typically a challenge to get me to eat vegetables. I’m pretty sure I even would go through veggie withdraw. That’s not the case for everyone though.
Families who struggle with adding healthy veggies at meal time will be happy to learn that there are ways to masquerade veggies as old family favorites or new and improved recipes that taste amazing and promote better health. If you family turns their nose at the sight of squash or refuses to eat cooked carrots, there doesn’t have to be standoff at the dinner table. Veggies are easily eaten when disguised as other foods that your family loves.
Here’s Three Ways to Get You Started:
Make amazing meatloaf.
Meatloaf is a favorite in many homes. It’s also a fantastic recipe to sneak some extra veggies in! And not only will it boost up the nutrients level but it help keep your meatloaf moist and full of flavor.
- Shred or puree carrots and add to the mix
- Shred zucchini and mix in with a combination of ground pork or beef
- Puree onions and even the most discerning eye won’t find them
- Crush tomatoes (some consider these a fruit – some a veggie) and make a homemade catsup to baste the meatloaf in.
Lace that lasagna with some unexpected veggies.
Lasagna is a great dish to add hidden veggies. From the meatballs to the filling, you can add nutrients that your family won’t know are there and claim the prize for the best-tasting dish at the potluck.
- Add shredded carrot, cabbage, or squash to your meatball mixture.
- Finely chop mushrooms, spinach, onion, zucchini, and mix with the ricotta cheese for a veggie-packed layer of goodness
- Use spinach pasta for the noodles
Bake them into your treats.
- Carrots- Carrots can be shredded or mused into pulp and used in all sorts of baking. Consider making a classic carrot cake or using the pulp mixed into a dark chocolate cake.
- Zucchini- From cakes, cookies, cupcakes, or breads, zucchini is one of the traditionally accepted ways to mix veggies into baking.
- Eggplant- Eggplant pulp is a wonderful texture and neutral flavor to mix with bananas for quick breads. It can also be used with dark chocolate to make tortes and rich desserts.
- Beets– Beet juice and beet pulp is used a lot in vegan baking. This gives a wonderful color to chocolate desserts and adds vitamins that are important for health.
- Avocado- Avocado has so many uses in baking. Avocado takes on the predominant flavor of chocolate or cacao. Used to make vegan or healthy frostings as well as used in truffles, cookies, cakes, and cupcakes.
- Pumpkin- Pumpkin spice is one of the beloved flavors of fall. Using actual pumpkin puree or the seeds from a pumpkin in baking makes perfect sense.
- Sweet potato- Everyone knows that sweet potatoes make an excellent pie, but the pulp is also used to make exceptional brownies and cakes.
- Spinach and Kale- These wonderful leafy greens are great pureed or juiced and add amazing moisture to baked goods. Paired with chocolate, your family will never suspect there is anything green in their food.