By Ali Lopez
October in Michigan is a great time for vegetables. Everyone tends to think that summer gives us the most abundant harvest, but autumn provides plenty of wonderful produce to enjoy – it’s an excellent opportunity to eat more veggies every day! (Everyone who knows me knows that I love my vegetables.)
Here are my favorite simple and tasty ways to eat more veggies each day:
Make your vegetables easy to access.
Don’t let them hide in the back of the fridge or out of sight in the “crisper”(aka “rotter”) drawer – put them front and center, where you’ll see them and remember them.
Prepare a week’s worth of vegetables.
This might mean washing, chopping, and even roasting, steaming or freezing vegetables. I love to wash and dry my greens and roast a big batch of vegetables so I always have something healthy on hand to make a quick meal. Check out my Kale Salad recipe. It is the perfect salad to make on Sunday and eat for lunch for a few days during the week. It actually gets better after a day or two.
I know I say this all the time, but vegetables truly taste better when they are in season: tomatoes in August and September; asparagus in May; Brussels sprouts in November. And eat them often when they are in season. Also, try new vegetables when they are easily available and abundant. Be adventurous!
Double the vegetables in your meals.
There aren’t many meals that wouldn’t be better with some extra veggies tossed in. Top your pizza with sautéed greens or roasted broccoli. Throw some roasted vegetables into your next pasta dish. Add more veggies to your salads and sandwiches. And don’t forget stirfries – this is such an easy way to use lots of variety and bits of leftovers. See how many different vegetables you can pack into what you’re already cooking, which is made even easier when you have already cooked or prepped them ahead of time.
Eat a salad every day.
You can get bags of pre-washed greens to help make it easier, and then just add your prepped veggies, along with some grains, nuts, seeds, protein, and healthy fat, and you have a nutrient-packed meal or snack. And if you keep some delicious homemade salad dressing on hand, you will look forward to your salads.
Eat (or drink) vegetables for breakfast.
Vegetables are not just for lunch and dinner. Scramble your eggs with veggies, or fold them into an omelet or make a frittata. It’s easy enough to prep some greens ahead of time and have them ready to toss in. Another idea: give your avocado toast a boost by adding sautéed greens and a fried egg on top. Or try my favorite Breakfast Salad. And don’t forget about smoothies – you won’t won’t even taste a handful of spinach if you add that to your morning smoothie. Try adding some other veggies (cooked or raw) for a new and exciting start to your morning.
Use raw vegetables instead of crackers, tortillas, and other breads.
And plan ahead by keeping a container of cut-up carrots, celery, bell peppers, and cucumbers in the fridge. It is fresher and better for you than a box of chips, and they work great with hummus and other dips. You also can use leafy greens as wraps instead of tortillas or pita. Collard green wraps are one of my favorites!
Don’t forget frozen!
I am a big fan of having a good selection of frozen vegetables on hand. They often are picked at their peak (when they are in season) and frozen right at the farm. And they are always good for soups, scrambles, and pasta — you could dump a whole bag of frozen spinach or kale into soup or stew.
Have a fueling question for Ali? Post it below in the comments section or email MRG with your healthy-eating questions at heather [at] michiganrunnergirl [dot] com
You can listen to a conversation about running and eating between Ali and Heather on this MRG podcast episode here »