Updated: Jul 14, 2022
Many of us consistently struggle with adding more vegetables to our meals. These are some of the most nutritious foods, and the one food group that almost every diet plan out there will encourage us to enjoy! They often get overlooked because they aren't as readily available on menus, and many people don't find them as tasty as the other food groups.
I encourage everyone I work with (who is open to veggies) to try to have non-starchy vegetables at most lunch and dinner meals. If you can get them in at breakfast or snacks, that's like dietitian gold-star extra credit! I hope these reasons and recipes will help veggies get the respect (and real estate on our plates) they deserve!
Just a few of the benefits of non-starchy vegetables are:
Nutrient-dense: These foods pack in a ton of vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants.
Health benefits: decrease risk of heart disease, certain types of cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and inflammation.
Volume: Since these foods are so low in calories, we can eat lots of them to help fill us up while trying to follow a lower calorie plan.
Fiber: The fiber found in these vegetables help to keep us full, improves our digestion, and helps naturally lower cholesterol.
Below is a round up of veggie recipes that I hope you really enjoy!
Veggie fried rice: https://cookieandkate.com/vegetable-fried-rice-recipe/
This is a great way to use up any veggies you have! I skipped the egg part because I was serving it with chicken and to simplify the cooking process.
This has become a hands-down favorite in our house! We love it with broccoli and snow peas.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/ Balsamic Vinegar and Honey: https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/roasted-brussels-sprouts.html
Roasting Brussels sprouts and getting the edges crispy brings out a totally different flavor and texture. It's a big improvement over boiled, mushy sprouts in my book.
I only use 1T olive oil and toss it with the sprouts in a bowl before cooking. I didn't find I needed to add any additional oil after cooking.
LOVE this broccoli salad for BBQ and other summer dishes: https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/cranberry-almond-broccoli-salad
This always gets gobbled up when I bring it to a party, and it holds up well for leftovers!
Lemony kale is a simple, but tasty way to cook up a big batch of greens - https://fedandfit.com/lemony-kale/
It may sound strange to some, but I will eat this hot or cold.
This works great when you just need a really basic veggie side for a meal or meal prep.
You can buy chopped kale if you don't want to have to cut it up yourself.
This roasted veggie and quinoa "salad" works great for meal prep and a variety of protein options - https://therealfooddietitians.com/balsamic-roasted-vegetable-and-quinoa-salad-recipe/
Love this with salmon and shrimp!
Easy cucumber dish that will hold up as leftovers:
Great for hot summer meals!
Recipes using riced cauliflower: https://www.skinnytaste.com/?s=cauliflower+rice
You can buy riced cauliflower in the freezer section or even find some instant options on the shelves of some stores.
I don't love eating riced cauliflower on it's own, but it makes a great substitute for some or all of the rice in dishes where there's a yummy sauce that the cauliflower can absorb.
Roasting veggies brings out more interesting flavors and textures. You can roast a wide variety of veggies and use different seasonings based on your preference. You can always make a batch once in the week and add a portion to meals throughout the week if you don't have a lot of people who will eat them at once.
This link provides basic instructions for how to roast just about any vegetable. https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-roast-any-vegetable-101221
Some of my favorite veggies to roast are: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, peppers, onions, cauliflower, mushrooms
I love serving this cumin lemon slaw with tacos or fajitas - https://cookieandkate.com/simple-healthy-coleslaw-recipe/
You can REALLY simplify this one by buying a bag of slaw mix and just mixing up the dressing. Feel free to add pepitas/pumpkin seeds or not.