If you watched Popeye the Sailor Man as a kid you know that when you eat spinach you get super strength, right?! Now hum along if you remember the song…”I’m strong to the finish ‘cause I eats my spinach!!”
But seriously, in a way vegetables do give us super strength because they are low in sugar, high in fiber, and loaded with vitamins. They are also shown to reduce the risk of chronic disease and help shed fat. Veggies have a lot of nutrients and a lot of volume from fiber and water but they don’t have a lot of calories. So when you eat more vegetables you end up more satisfied and feeling full without consuming a lot of calories.
This brings me to my next lean eating habit: Eat at least five servings of vegetables a day.
A serving is about the size of your fist. So make a fist and now you know how much how much you have to eat per serving. Now eat 5 of those per day! They emphasized that you can eat your veggies however you prefer, which means raw or cooked. They also said that if you really love one kind of veggie to go ahead and eat a couple of servings of that.
They suggest eating the rainbow because the more colorful a vegetable, the more nutrients it has. They recommend experimenting and trying new vegetables that you have never tried before. The goal is to eat a wide variety of colorful veggies and fruits. They also suggest trying to get more dark leafy vegetables.
While I do love vegetables and Dave and I probably eat a lot more veggies than the average person, over the two weeks while I was working on nailing this habit, some days getting 5 servings in was tough. One thing that helped me was to make a big salad for dinner with a bunch of different veggies and throw some grilled chicken or salmon on top of it. That alone can be 3 or 4 servings of veggies, depending on the size of your salad.
Another way to get a raw serving of veggies in is to throw a handful or two of spinach into your smoothie. Dave and I have been doing this lately and loving it! You get the benefit of the nutrients and a serving of veggies and you can’t even taste it. This might help for those of you picky eaters who don’t exactly heart vegetables.
Another thing I sometimes do to get veggies in at breakfast is add them to my eggs either in a scramble or an omelet. I really like spinach, onions, broccoli, red pepper, and tomatoes in my eggs. Sprinkle on some Cholula and hand me a big cup of coffee with a little cream and you’ve just made my day Jack! (Duck Dynasty Fans you know what I’m talking about!)
One other thing that has helped me get my 5 servings in is to make a big vat of soup in my crockpot and load that up with veggies. In fact, Dave and I just had some homemade minestrone last night and it was pretty delicious if I do say so myself! We had onions, diced tomatoes, carrots, celery, and kale in just that one dish. Oh and by the way if you don’t like a veggie the first time you try it, try it again. I’m speaking from experience when I say that veggies (and other foods) can grow on you. I didn’t particularly love kale the first time I tried it, but now after having it several times I actually really like it. So give your taste buds a little time to adjust to new foods and flavors.
So now just like your mama always told you, eat your vegetables! Experiment and have fun with it! Try a new way of prepping or cooking your favorite vegetable. You can eat your veggies raw in a salad or smoothie, steam them, grill them, sauté them, or add them to soups. Try eating what’s in season or buy something local or organic.
Let us know what new veggie you tried this week or post your new favorite veg recipe here!