Vegetables are good for weight loss and health. But what if you hate them? It can be hard to hit your goals.
These are 20 ideas for eating vegetables even if you think you hate them. You can hide them in chili and meatloaf, puree them in dips, bake them into chips, and use them as noodles.
Keep reading for more ideas.
Lark can help you set habits to reach health and weight loss goals. You may find yourself eating more vegetables, too!
Are you getting enough vegetables? Eating more can help with weight loss and lower risk for chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. The Dietary Guidelines and a study published in PLOS Medicine say getting a few servings, or nearly a pound, each day can help.
It's easier than you may think to get more vegetables! Check out these 20 ideas for eating them.
Start your chili with onions and celery, and add tons of canned tomatoes. Bell peppers can add flavor, too. Add beans and swap soy protein for beef or turkey for extra fiber.
2. Meat(less) Loaf
Meatloaf is a classic hiding place for vegetables. Pureed cooked eggplant, grated carrots and zucchini, and tomato paste or sauce can disappear into the loaf, though your body will recognize the benefits! Chopped fresh or frozen spinach, or sliced or diced mushrooms, and chopped onion are also worth trying.
3. Riced Cauliflower
Riced cauliflower is amazing! It has only 20 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrates per cup. Rice has 200 calories and 44 grams of carbs. Buy it frozen or make it yourself by pulsing clean, raw cauliflower florets in a blender before draining it on a towel and then cooking with it. Dishes can include:
"Fried rice" with sesame or olive oil, chopped vegetables, and egg, tofu, chicken, salmon, or shrimp.
Rice and bean bowls with tomatoes, ground turkey or shredded chicken, and cilantro.
Tuna "rice" casserole with low-fat cheese.
You can also use half riced cauliflower and half brown rice to get the goodness of vegetables and whole grains.
4. Vegetable Noodles
Make your own or buy frozen ones. Zucchini and carrot spirals are available frozen or you can make your own. And when you cook spaghetti squash, the flesh comes out in spaghetti-like strands. It has 40 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrates per cup. Spaghetti has 200 calories and 44 grams of carbs. Use your vegetable noodles just like spaghetti.
5. Thick Soups and Sauces
Mix in well-cooked cauliflower, pumpkin, peas, butternut or acorn squash, or carrots to thicken dishes or add creaminess. These are examples.
Black bean soup with pumpkin
Chicken soup with pureed cauliflower.
Whole-grain macaroni and cheese with pureed butternut squash.
Crustless chicken pot pie with butternut squash or cauliflower instead of cream.
6. "Un-Potato" Salad
Potatoes are vegetables, but using a variety of vegetables adds more nutrients. And using non-starchy vegetables for some or all of the potatoes lowers calorie and carb counts. Cooked, cubed turnips or cauliflower can sub in for potatoes in potato salad.
7. Mashed Potato-less Potatoes
Pureed cooked cauliflower, peas, turnips, carrots, rutabaga, and beets can sub in for all or some of the potatoes in mashed potato recipes. Nutmeg, parmesan cheese, garlic, low-sodium broth, and unsweetened almond or oat milk can add flavor.
Spray a pan with cooking spray. Then mix thinly sliced vegetables with a bit of olive oil and optional seasonings such as parmesan cheese, kosher salt, black pepper, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, or shredded seaweed. Spread the vegetables on the pan and bake them at 375 until they start to crisp. Shredded kale and thinly sliced radishes, carrots, parsnips, daikon, and turnips all work well.
Scrambled eggs, omelets, and egg muffin cups can all use vegetables. Spinach cooks quickly so you can cook it with the eggs. But cook other vegetables before adding them to eggs. These are some combos to try - but don't limit yourself!
Spinach and parmesan cheese.
Onions, bell peppers, black beans, and cheddar cheese with cilantro and garlic.
Feta cheese, oregano, basil, and zucchini.
Sliced mushrooms and swiss cheese.
10. Roasted Vegetables
You may not have liked vegetables as a kid, but they could taste better now. Tastes can change as you grow up, so vegetables may taste better to you. Plus, many people grew up eating mushy canned vegetables. Try them as a grown-up, and roast them this time around. Maybe you will like them now!
Broccoli, brussels sprouts, and some others have bitter compounds. Some people are more sensitive to them. The taste of these compounds is weaker when you cook them compared to eating them raw. Steamed or roasted, just be sure they are cooked soft if you think you may be sensitive to the bitter tastes in some vegetables.
Cook vegetables before adding them if you are using ready-made soups. Otherwise, add them early when you cook the soup. These are some soups that rely on vegetables.
Vegetable, vegetable beef, vegetable chicken, and vegetable noodle soups.
Pureed vegetable soup with onion, celery, and any types of vegetables.
Borscht with cabbage or mushrooms and beets.
Gazpacho with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and bell peppers.
You can add vegetables to almost any kind of soup and it will turn out well.
Use whole-grain pasta, spiralized vegetables, or both. Then add cooked vegetables! These are examples.
Spaghetti and tomato sauce with mushrooms, bell peppers, or mushrooms, and soy protein or ground turkey.
Baked pasta with feta cheese and spinach, or broccoli florets and low-fat cheddar cheese.
Pasta with olive oil, garlic, green beans or asparagus, and shrimp or chicken.
Vegetables can hide in pasta sauce. When you heat the sauce, add well-cooked, pureed vegetables, such as onions, carrots, zucchini, and red peppers. They blend in well.
Using new flavors can make vegetables more interesting and tastier. Any of these may be appealing even for people who think they do not like vegetables.
Indian, Thai, Malaysian, or other curries that are spicy or mild, and can include flavors of curry powder, tamarind, chili paste, turmeric, cumin, and more.
Paella with seafood and vegetarian sausage, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes, onion.
Jambalaya with riced cauliflower or brown rice, seafood, vegetarian sausage or chicken, onion, bell pepper, celery, and tomatoes.
16. Vegetable Pancakes
Blend grated zucchini and onion with a bit of whole-wheat flour, 1 or 2 egg whites, and seasonings such as onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, or basil. Cook them in a frying pan with cooking spray or bake your pancakes and enjoy!
Everyone needs more pizza in their life. Right? Use extra tomato sauce and add toppings such as onions, eggplant, bell peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Cauliflower crust can add more vegetables and cut carbs (though you'll want to choose a brand without too much fat).
You may not like green salads with chopped vegetables. But you may enjoy raw or cooked vegetables in salads made with quinoa, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, or another whole grain. Make the salad ahead of time and let the flavors blend overnight. The vegetables may be tasty and add texture, too!
Crazy, right? Try it! Just before you are done cooking oatmeal, stir in spinach leaves or cooked, diced vegetables. Add some low-fat or fat-free cheese, and you have a delicious meal with vegetables to start your day!
Pureed cooked peas or broccoli can be a base for dips. Garlic powder, parmesan cheese, feta cheese, cilantro, cumin, and lime juice are a few ideas for seasoning. Pureed cooked eggplant with tahini or olive oil, along with garlic and lemon juice, is another idea.
Losing weight and eating well can have big returns. They can boost health, energy, and confidence. And they can be part of your daily routine. You can even eat your favorite foods and lose weight.
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