Do you find yourself craving sweets, chips, and pasta? Are you hungry only an hour or two after eating a big meal?
If you answered ‘yes’ to those questions, then you probably need more vegetables in your diet. When your diet consists mainly of sweets, pasta, and unhealthy starches, those things turn to sugar in your body. That sugar turns into fat and leads to high blood sugar, spiking insulin levels and, in turn, sugar cravings. Sugar feeds disease. High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, acid reflux and many other gut related conditions can often be attributed to diets lacking in quality fruits and vegetables.
When your diet contains enough vegetables, that’s what you will crave! Now, you’re probably thinking, “That’s insane! I’ve never craved spinach and broccoli!” Well, you could! The more of something you eat, the more your body will crave it. Consuming more vegetables will help you keep your ‘bad’ cravings under control. By adding more of the vitamins and nutrients contained in veggies and removing the empty calories from sugars and starches, you’ll stay full longer between meals. Vegetables, especially the organic ones, are often high in energy vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants and fiber. These nutrients are essential for sustaining long term energy, because they help keep your body healthy. Vegetables aid in better digestion, lowering blood pressure, lowering blood sugar, leveling out insulin levels and helping to eliminate sugar cravings. All of these changes will lead to a boost in the immune system. Feeling healthier often prompts even more healthy choices. Veggies are also low calorie and many provide hydration to your body as well. For example, cauliflower, eggplant, red cabbage, peppers and spinach all have a 92% water content.
There are many vegetable options, so it’s not too difficult to get a large variety into your daily diet.
Buying fresh, organic, vegetables is recommended and that can get a little pricey so, look for ways to make your dollar stretch and use the entire plant. When selecting vegetables like carrots and beets, get some with nice, leafy, green stems. You can roast the main portion of the vegetable itself for dinner then use the stems in a salad for lunch the next day! Salads are a fantastic and easy way to get a lot of vegetables into your body. We recently shared ideas to help you Build a Superfood Salad.
Chopping your greens will help your salads (and dollars) stretch a little further. Pickier eaters also might be more prone to eat something that’s chopped up into smaller pieces. That can be time consuming during your meal preparation, but a quality knife and cutting board can help immensely with that. You can add seeds, walnuts or boiled eggs for vegetarian protein – or add chicken or tuna for some animal protein. Salads are also great way to get your vegetables when you’re on the go! Just throw your salad into a glass jar with a small container of dressing and you’re set! Dressings don’t have to be complicated either. Olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice are easy and healthy ways to dress a delicious salad.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring or hard. Challenge yourself to find creative ways to get veggies in your diet this week! Here’s a great one to try:
- Spinach or other greens
- Carrot tops
- Beet tops
- Green onions
- Lemon thyme
- other toppings of choice
- Wash all of the veggies and herbs
- Chop all ingredients into a large mixing bowl
- Drizzle olive oil, balsamic vinegar, or fresh lemon juice and sprinkle sea salt and black pepper (to your taste level)
Now have some fun with it! This is a great way to use up any extra veggies and herbs in a fun, healthy way and it makes a beautiful side dish. You can also have this salad as a main dish with salmon, chicken, boiled eggs, nuts, seeds, fresh berries, dried fruit, feta, crumbled goat cheese, olives or capers. The possibilities are endless!