As a parent, it’s not only important that my kids get the proper nutrition they need, but that I do too. I need the energy to keep up with them and generally want to be a healthier person. One way to help with this is to add more plants into my diet. And with the help of Sara Siskind, Certified Nutritional Health Counselor, I’m making this happen. She has offered to share some tips with me and you on ways to add more plants into our meals without having to sacrifice our favorite foods.
~I received samples to help facilitate this post.~
1. Simple Swap Outs
When making a sandwich, swap out the bread with lettuce or a collard green wrap. The same goes for sushi. Request the sushi be wrapped in cucumber (this is called a naruto roll) rather than rice. Easy swaps can add more nutrients into your diet while also saving calories throughout the day.
2. Mix It Up
Think outside the box when preparing vegetables and get out of the habit of eating the same foods over and over (I struggle big time with this). Mix it up! Puree carrots, cauliflower, spinach, or squash into your favorite meals. Some ideas include soups, sauces, lasagna, and meatballs. You won’t even taste the difference, but you will be incorporating a lot of vegetables into your meals.
3. Don’t Forget Breakfast
Breakfast is a meal we often forget to add vegetables, but it’s easy to turn regulat eggs into a fancy vegetable omelet. You can also try spreading avocado (my favorite) on your toast instead of butter, for more fiber and less calories. Add a tomato and onion on top for an extra veggie boost. Keep chopped vegetables in your refrigerator at all times so it’s easy to toss them into any snacks or meals.
Fruit smoothies are a terrific way to easily sneak in greens. Blend in a handful of spinach or kale with zero compromise to how good your smoothies taste. If you first wash, dry, chop, and freeze your greens, you will not only reduce spoilage and waste, but also make it easier to whip up a cold refreshing smoothie. (I absolutely love this idea!)
5. Add Some Protein Crunch
Greens don’t have to be plain and eaten by themselves. Chop up and add some nuts like Setton Farms Pistachios or even Pistachio Chewy Bites, for an added crunch and protein. The same applies to quinoa or rice. You can also sprinkle pistachios over yogurt or oatmeal for extra protein and heart healthy fats. The possibilities are endless – smoothies, trail mixes, granola, cheese. If looking to cut back on calories, pistachios are a good way to go as they are the lowest calorie nut, at a whopping 49 nuts per serving.
My boyfriend and I are really big pistachio fans, so this is an easy tip for us. The Pistachio Chewy Bites are delicious too. I’ve even been throwing some in my purse for when I need a simple, healthy snack on the go. The Pistachio + Blueberry Cranberry Chewy Bites are all-natural bite-sized bars, packed with over 50% heart-healthy pistachios, antioxidant-rich cranberries, coconut, and a touch of maple brown rice syrup. Perfect for a tasty crunch when and where you need one.
6. Switch Out Pasta
Up your nutrients by switching your wheat pasta to vegetable pasta. Spiralized zucchini, butternut squash, and even sweet potato comes out amazing! You’ll even find them served in restaurants as a gluten-free alternative to pasta. Top it with your favorite tomato sauce and a little cheese for a comfort food fix without the guilt.
7. Make Your Own Crunchy Snacks
Craving salty pretzels or fried potato chips? You can easily make your own crunchy snacks by baking chopped kale, thinly sliced sweet potatoes, or beets with a touch of olive oil and sea salt. Many markets are even carrying them pre-made for easy snacking on the go.