Eating More Veggies

Simple ways to increase your daily vegetable intake

Lara Rondinelli By Lara Rondinelli, RD, LDN, CDE

"Eat more vegetables."

"Make sure half your plate is full of veggies."

"Snack on low carb vegetables."

These suggestions probably sound familiar, but the truth is, many people aren't eating enough vegetables on a daily basis. Most vegetables are very low carb, and therefore have little impact on blood sugar. They also provide a number of health benefits because they are high in fiber and packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The dLife Healthy Eating Plate, which was developed based on the current body of scientific evidence on diet and health, recommends filling half your plate with a colorful variety of fiber-rich, low carbohydrate vegetables.

Why aren't people eating enough vegetables?

If you're struggling to get enough veggies on your plate, here are some questions to help you figure out what you may be doing wrong.

Do you tend to choose processed snacks instead of vegetables?
Do you go some days without eating any vegetables at all?
Do you like vegetables but forget to eat them? Or are you bored with vegatables and want to know different ways to work them into your diet?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, read on. Here are some simple tips designed to help you increase your veggie intake. Pick one to try today and you'll see how easy — and delicious — it can be to add more vegetables to your diet.

  1. Have veggies for breakfast. Many people don't eat vegetables for breakfast, but it can be a great time to add more to your daily intake. Choose one or more of these vegetables to add to your scrambled eggs or omelet: onions, spinach, tomatoes, green peppers, zucchini or mushrooms. You can also make mini egg and vegetable quiches in muffin tins and freeze them for a quick breakfast during the week.
  2. Double up. If a little is good, more is better. This definitely true when it comes to low carb vegetables. Try doubling your portion sizes — if preparing a stir-fry, make vegetables the main course of the dish. If you typically add one carrot and one onion to your baked chicken — double or triple that and add other veggies as well. If you choose to eat foods like pizza, add extra toppings such as spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, or green peppers.
  3. Try a veggie smoothie. This may not be a typical way to eat your veggies, but you might be surprised at the great taste. Get creative and blend fruits and vegetables such as spinach, kale, frozen blueberries, or half a banana, with a little milk. It's delicious, refreshing, and a healthy way to start the day. These smoothies also make a great snack for both kids and adults. Just remember to count the carbs and make sure to select low carb fruits and vegetables to to toss into the blender.
  4. Roast it. Roasting brings out the natural flavor of vegetables, making it one of the easiest and tastiest ways to cook them. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, toss the veggies of your choice (eggplant, asparagus, zucchini, peppers, Brussel sprouts, or cauliflower) with a little olive oil, and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until tender. You can also sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.
  5. Snack on veggies. Many people reach for unhealthy snacks such as chips, cookies, granola bars, or whatever the vending machine has to offer. Veggies are the forgotten snack. Grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and green peppers taste great served with hummus or guacamole. If it's almost time for dinner and you and the kids are starving, serve some veggies with hummus. Not only will you satisfy everyone's hunger, you'll also be getting a serving of vegetables in before dinner.

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Last Modified Date: February 15, 2013

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