I’m going to go out on a limb here and say cooking can be a struggle for many of us. I am in this boat sometimes too. I just want something FAST that requires little prep work and minimal ingredients. Since I’m always encouraging more vegetable intake with patients, here are my top 5 ways to get extra veggies in your diet (with hardly any prep).
- Microwave Vegetables – Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh vegetables, and some may even have more nutrients due to freezing these products at their peak ripeness. When I’m not in the mood to make an intricate dish, I just pop one of these frozen bags in the microwave for 5-6 minutes and now I have about 3 servings ready to go. Frozen veggies includes carrots, frozen mixed vegetables, green beans, Asian mix, broccoli, and much more!
- Salads – Salads are a great way to add extra volume and fiber to your meals. When I don’t feel like keeping fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and other raw produce on hand, my favorite thing to do is buy the pre-made salad bags at the grocery store. They have everything ready to go, and you just need to mix it together. If you wanted to make these products even healthier, you can take out their pre-made dressing and add your own. You can even cut back on some of the toppings they add. Either way, these salads make dinner a breeze!
- Roasted Vegetables – Roasting your vegetables sometime makes them more palatable. You can roast pretty much any vegetable. All you do is cut up your veggie- brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, onions, carrots, mushrooms, etc.—and coat in olive oil, top with some salt, pepper, and any of your favorite seasonings, place in a 425 degree oven, and roast until tender. You now have a tasty side dish!
- Easy-to-Grab Snacks – Having some crisp veggies on hand makes it much easier to actually eat them. Some of my favorites include baby carrots, baby bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and celery sticks. These types of snacks are ready to eat, and require no prep work, so you can even have these as a side dish if you’d like!
- Smoothies – Last, but not least, one of the easiest ways to get some veggies in your diet is to drink them. I know, this sounds kind of weird, but if you add some fruit (like a banana and some berries) your smoothie can taste great! Usually the fruit taste can mask the veggies, so give it a try!
I hope you find some of these tips fast, easy, and tasty!
Jordan Chen, MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with the Manhattan Medical Group.