5 Ways to get your 5-a-day veggies

Michelle Dudash, RD, is nationally recognized as an expert in teaching people how health and food can happily co-exist. Through her 18 years of food business experience as a Le Cordon Bleu certified chef having cooked at a five star rest...

How to eat more vegetables

Want to add more veggies to your daily diet? SheKnows shows you how!

You know you're supposed to do it to be healthy, but eating the same old carrots, peas and green beans can lose its luster after a while. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 73 percent of Americans are not eating the recommended number of servings per day, which is 2 1/2 cups for a typical 1800-2000 calorie diet. How about adding some new foods into the mix to reawaken your taste buds and help you get your daily dose of vegetables?

5 Ways to eat more vegetables

1. Lose your fat phobia to eat more veggies

Did you know that fat in the diet actually helps the body better absorb certain nutrients?

While it's a good idea to keep the unhealthy trans fat to zero grams and saturated fat to a minimum, the body still needs the healthier kinds of fats from plants and fish. The oils in Wish-Bone salad dressing help the body better absorb vitamins A & E from salads and add a delicious flavor, too. Whether you're dipping veggies into a tasty Italian or tossing your salad with balsamic vinaigrette, the salad dressing adds naturally-rich omega-3 ALA into your diet and is an important source of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

For your next scrumptious salad, try these perfect pairings:

  • Arugula, dried cherries, slivered almonds, and balsamic vinaigrette
  • Spinach, tomatoes, black beans, avocados and Italian vinaigrette
  • Romaine, dried cranberries, blue cheese, walnuts and red wine vinaigrette

2. Roasting vegetables is as easy as 1-2-3

Dry heat cooking in the oven or grill (essentially the same as baking) caramelizes vegetables to impart a sweet taste and crispy-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside texture. Simply cut the vegetable into desired shapes, place on a cookie sheet pan, and toss with olive or canola oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Or, for even easier option, toss with your favorite vinaigrette dressing. Roast at 400°F until golden and cooked through.

These vegetables work exceptionally well for roasting:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Fennel
  • Asaparagus

3. Get more veggies by adding spinach to smoothies

Yes, seriously. Whirling a handful of baby spinach into your smoothie adds a punch of Vitamin A and C. If you're not fond of spinach's green color in your smoothie, blend in dark fruit such as blackberries and blueberries for a lush purple color. Fresh flat-leaf parsley also adds a delightfully fresh twist to a kiwi banana smoothie.

4. Switch up your veggie platter

Life exists beyond carrots and celery sticks. For your next crudités tray, showcase jicama for a refreshingly cool crunch, zucchini "chips" for a great dipping vehicle, and romaine hearts for endless low calorie munching.

5. Eat more veggies by taking them with you

Meals and snacks on the go can help you get to your veggie goals, too. To help you get there, pre-portion foods in plastic containers ahead of time so they're ready to go out the door when you are. Portable no-mess, no-fuss ideas include sugar snap peas, baby carrots, cucumber slices and broccoli florets.

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