The Vegetable Challenge
Are you ready for another challenge?
How much of your dinner plate is vegetables, especially raw ones? I was NOT raised on veggies or salads. My idea of veggies was the occasional side of creamed corn, and that’s it. Yikes! I hardly had a salad in my formative years. My plate had no room for vegetables with all of my processed grub.
When I got into college and started living on my own, I thought I would be healthy and start consuming those Fresh Express salads with iceberg lettuce with my Wishbone Italian Dressing. I began the journey of eating healthier, along with my boxed Hamburger Helper (yuck)! I had a ways to go, but it was definitely a start.
In recent years we’ve incorporated more and more vegetables into our life. It has been a slow go. Many times a week, we would have a bagged salad, but it was a small portion of our plates. Some days we would go without vegetables. Even as recently as a couple of years ago, we would have a piece of fruit and call it our salad at dinner, only half joking. I was limiting vegetables to dinnertime only. I would feel good if we had the periodic vegetables during the day with the lettuce and tomato on a sandwich.
So, now for the vegetable challenge: make half of your dinner plate raw vegetables. Wherever you are in your green eating, raise up your bar incrementally. If you have no greens at dinner, consider making 1/4 of your plate greens, then make it a 1/3, and so on. True, lasting change will happen slowly.
Somewhere in the last year and a half we decided to make make this change. It takes a little time to prepare a salad. Jonathan bought me a HUGE Pyrex salad bowl with a cover and we store a big salad in it that will last about three days that way we just have to pull it out of the fridge. It gives us NO excuses.
If the time preparation of salad is enough of a road block to not eat them, I do recommend forking out the money for pre-washed salads. I will often buy the Costco Organic Greens that makes a great base for the salads. We love adding tomatoes, avocados, carrots, feta cheese and more. We’ve found that it’s important to keep salads and other vegetable presentations interesting and appetizing or they won’t find their way to our plates.
Also, I used to have a crouton addiction (really a crunch addiction) so now we use walnuts instead of croutons. It gives us those important omega 3’s we need.
We also try now to slip in veggies throughout the day. I try to stick them wherever I can. I will often throw spinach and carrots in a fruit smoothie. When I first started this, I LITERALLY put 1 leaf of spinach in. I incrementally brought it up to a handful of spinach. It’s a slow change that has now stuck. I put spinach in chili and enchiladas, and even in banana bread. We are having more green smoothies with kale and other vegetables. When we eat scrambled eggs we put carrots, green and red bell pepper, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, zucchini and any other veggies that seem to fit. We use lettuce instead of bread for tuna sandwiches. We are paying more in groceries now, but it is worth it!! Food is medicine.
Think of investing in the future by paying a little more for nourishing, whole foods now. Food is medicine. Eating these vegetables will make you feel better! By investing in and consuming these nutrient-rich and vitamin-dense foods now, you can save yourself a considerable amount of money in hospital bills later.
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