How to sneak veggies into your diet

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Looking back at my childhood years, I remember with fondness the school lunchroom.  I’m not kidding.  While most people don’t share the same level of appreciation for lunch ladies, I have nothing but positive things to say about them!  To begin with, they were ALWAYS nice to me.  A trip to the lunch room was a guaranteed meal and a guaranteed self-esteem boost.  This was important to me because I didn’t have a lot of friends.  It was obvious that our lunch ladies cared about me as I slid my lunch tray along the counter receiving every necessary serving for the day’s menu.  They cared about my happiness and they cared about MY HEALTH.  Every meal was well-balanced and included a decent dose of veggies every time.  Not eating veggies was simply not an option.  In fact, not consuming your entire lunch was not an option.  Our teachers saw to it that no tray was left with food on it prior to dismissing students from the lunchroom. 

It never bothered me, though.  I loved everything the lunch ladies made from the popular peanut-butter-bars to the pedestrian carrot slices.  I ate it all gone.  J

While the USDA recommended food portioning strategy has changed over the years from food wheels to food pyramids to food plates . . . , one thing has remained constant: the need to for vegetables.

Just as many humans have a strange aversion to drinking water many humans have a similar aversion to eating vegetables.  To me, this conundrum is confusing and presents some consternation.  Yet, I am not so naïve to assume that a minority few suffer from what I call veggie-aversion.  Therefore, in an effort to help by veggie-averse friends, I’ve compiled the following list of suggested ways to SNEAK veggies into your diet.

7 ways to be sneaky with veggies

Puree them

A blender goes a long way in the quest to sneak veggies into your diet. When you blend or puree veggies, you can easily add them to an already-pureed substance like soup, sauce, or a smoothie. The adage “Out of sight, out of mind” lives strong in this exercise. Add zucchini and carrots to your spaghetti sauce. Consider pureed squash or pumpkin for your soup. And smoothies? The possibilities are endless!

Veggie Pizza

Put them on pizza

Pizza is one of the greatest secrets to sneaking food into your diet.  It’s not as effective in hiding veggies as the blender-method.   However, the pizza secret works especially well for veggies you already mostly like.  It won’t be effective for the veggies you don’t like. 

Shred them

With this strategy, you aren’t hiding the veggies as much as you are disguising the veggies. A carrot looks less like a carrot when it’s shredded like cheese. The same is true for just about any other veggie. Shredding veggies more easily allows you to hide them in omelets, soups, salads, and casseroled.

Get a salad in a bag

When it comes to eating an old-fashioned green salad, the biggest hurdle most people face is the process of putting the salad together. They simply don’t want to take the time (or don’t know how) to assemble a salad. Thankfully, in today’s world you can buy a salad in a bag. Just open and serve! It’s as easy as opening a bag of potato chips. It’s a little pricier than making a salad from scratch, but if it is the difference between eating a salad and not eating a salad, the investment is well worth it.

Once a week have an entrée salad

Remember, salads don’t always have to be an appetizer. They serve well as an entrée. Build into your dinner schedule a once-a-week entrée salad. My favorite entrée salad is taco salad. Though there are many options available.

Move veggies to the top shelf of fridge

Remember the out of sight out of mind adage from earlier in this post? Well, here we go again.  If veggies really are so important, why are they stored in the least prominent location of our fridges?  Consider, instead, moving your veggies to the top shelf.  With this switch, they will be in sight and therefore in mind each time you open the fridge.

Use salsa like a champ

One of my pet peeves (only slightly) is when I go to a Mexican restaurant and when they serve the complimentary chips and salsa to a group of four people, they provide a measly little bowl of salsa. Come on folks! I need salsa like a champ, not like a wimp. I’ve gotten to the point to where I no longer wait for the waiter to bring the wimpy shared salsa bowl. Instead, I ask right-off-the-bat, “Can you please bring me an extra bowl of salsa to begin with?”

Salsa is packed full of veggies.  In fact it’s nothing BUT veggies.  Eat it like a champ. Prepare menu items that go well with salsa, and when served, pack the salsa on like crazy.

Your lunch ladies would be proud Getting more veggies doesn’t require you to increase your love of veggies.  Instead, it requires just a little more sneak and a little more savvy.  By implementing some of the suggested tactics above, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier you which, no doubt, would make your childhood lunch ladies proud!