We all know we're supposed to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, right? Depending on where you get your dietary advice from, that can range from 5 servings a day to 9-11 servings a day. (And that doesn't mean strawberry flavored pop-tart filling or french fries, either. That generally means real nutritious fruits and vegetables).
For me, the "fruit" part is easier than the "vegetable" part. Fruit goes great with breakfast and lunch, as a snack, or even with dinner. Fruit is easy.
But vegetables? I do really well at dinner--we pretty much always have a big-ass salad, and there are additional vegetables either in or sitting aside the main course. I seem, however, to struggle with getting vegetables during daylight hours. Not getting vegetables before dinner puts a lot of pressure on dinner! It would be nice to have more of them out of the way before the sun sets.
My problem: I'm not a big fan of salads at lunch. Why not? Hell if I know. I'm just not. And as to raw vegetables like carrots or bell pepper slices or cauliflower florets? I start to tire of them after a few bites, and then start to resent them for not being gone already. Go away, raw vegetables! But they take forever to chew up and swallow and they are, frankly, not very tasty. I rarely subject myself to them anymore. For the most part, I'd much rather grab a piece of fruit than a vegetable.
While I do have a few methods for tricking myself into eating vegetables before dinner, (and have just discovered a new one that I'll share), I could really use some helpful advice!
Lunch Time Vegetables:
Pretty much my only trick here is: Reheat leftovers from last night's dinner. Soups, pasta with vegetables in it, chili, stir fries, takeout Thai or Indian... If there's a tasty sauce of some sort, particularly if it contains oil and garlic, then I'm willing to get vegetables at lunch. Otherwise? Not so much.
A long time ago, when the blog was very very young (it was on Day 2, I believe, and I was still writing in the third person) I wrote a post about a way to sneak in a morning vegetable: I mixed canned pumpkin with yogurt, pumpkin pie spices, and a boatload of my sweetener of choice. (Let's just pretend that sweetener was honey or agave nectar or something natural you'd all approve of, shall we? ) But pumpkin is a very particular flavor, and I only like it every now and then.
And, well, there are scrambled eggs with onion and pepper and tomatoes and maybe spinach in there. But that doesn't happen very often either, because it requires chopping things and washing out a pan and I'm lazy in the mornings.
So what's the newest breakfast vegetable trick I discovered?
Putting spinach in smoothies!
Green Smoothie photo: nic221
Note: And by "discovered" I mean: "read about in many of your blogs and thought no way in hell! Yeccch! You people are nuts! Until then I finally tried it myself and realized you all were actually onto something." That kind of "discovered."
Yep, I put a cup of spinach in the blender with my normal smoothie recipe, and I couldn't even taste the spinach in there! (The spinach was uncooked; I believe this is probably crucial if you want to avoid barfing). Then, feeling even more adventurous the next day, I put an additional cup of raw spinach in. With two cups, I could taste it a little. But it was just a slightly green, grassy taste, not at all disgustingly vile and loathsome as one might assume!
So I confess, it did look weird. Because I used blueberries, the whole thing wasn't green--it was a rather unattractive purplish-gray. But the smugness I felt from drinking spinach in the morning made it totally worth consuming an ugly beverage.
Now I'm curious about other vegetables. Carrots? Bell peppers? Has anyone experimented with what they can get away with in their smoothies? I'm thinking broccoli is kinda unlikely.
But I need more help! Does anyone else struggle with getting enough vegetables in before dinner? Any suggestions that don't involve carrot sticks?