I make a green smoothie for breakfast every morning. I throw in fruit juice, almond milk, maybe a banana, a ton of greens (kale, spinach, collards, mustard greens, turnip greens, etc) and broccoli - its really good and you get about a million servings of vegetables this way.
I'm lucky to have access to a decent salad bar in my office, so my regular weekday lunch is a huge salad (probably 2 cups of mixed leaves - spinach and lettuce - and 1 cup of mixed raw veggies). If you don't have access to a salad bar or want to lower the price, then you could batch prep salad fixings for a couple of days in advance: wash lettuce and store wrapped in damp towels; and wash and chop firm veggies into bite-sized pieces and store in containers (works well for carrots, peppers, celery, broccoli, zucchini etc). Cut up some cheese into small cubes and toast 1/4 cup of nuts. Then in the morning you can assemble a salad from prepped ingredients and quickly head out the door.
My go-to snack in the morning and afternoon is fruit. I keep a bowl of fruit on my desk at the office and fill it once a week, so it's easy to grab something.
A lot of the recipes I cook are fairly simple (stews, stirfries, chili, pasta) and I add a lot of veggies to them to increase the nutrients and decrease the calories per serving. I cook large batches, so that I have 2 servings to eat immediately (for my husband and me), 2 to put in the fridge for later in the week, and 2 to put into the freezer for later in the month. I only end up cooking from scratch about once a week, usually on a weekend when I have more time.
At this time of year, roasted vegetables are really good and you can also make them ahead of time. I do Mediterranean-style roasted veggies. Pre-heat the oven to about 400. I cut up into large pieces a selection of my favourite vegetables: potatoes, carrots, fennel, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and red onions. (Also good with zucchini, eggplant, squash/turnip etc, and root vegetables like celeriac.) The very firm ones get microwaved for about 30 seconds after they're chopped into large pieces. Then I toss the vegetables in a large baking dish with a little bit of olive oil, a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, lots of chopped garlic and Herbes de Provence. (If you don't have Herbes de Provence, use a mixture of rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme etc - dried is fine.) Then cover the dish with foil and roast in the oven for at least 30 minutes, turning the vegetables occasionally. Remove the foil for about 5 minutes toward the end. Delicious! Again, I make a double or triple batch, and then I can just reheat the veggies and serve them as a side dish during the week.
I also make vegetable (or mostly vegetable) soup, e.g., minestrone, in a big batch and then freeze it one cup servings. When I'm low on veggies for the day or have the munchies, I'll thaw some soup for a healthy mini-meal. I also sometimes take soup to work and have it with something from the cafeteria.
Edited by: EMMANYC at: 1/31/2012 (12:58)
Fitness Minutes: (10,890)
1/31/12 12:52 P
Fruit: I love making a fruit smoothie. I take strawberries, kiwi, blueberries and sometimes a banana and place it in a blender with ice. It is a great treat for the evenings or mornings (during the warmer months)
Veggies: Snack bags of carrots, or celery or make a a quick salad.
I've found you can dump frozen spinach into quite a few recipes and the overall taste will still be good. Broccoli also works in a lot of things but does alter the texture since it's not as soft as spinach.
You can put broth, lentils, frozen, spinach and cooked ground lean meat in a pot with some chili seasonings and end up with an easy healthy chili...or add curry instead of chili seasonings and it's a curry dish. Lentils take about 30 to 40 minutes to cook but you only have to actually touch what you are cooking for about 5 minutes ;mainly to stir. It would also work well in a slow cooker.
Before I start, let me say that I am not a full time vegetarian. I have just done vegetarian and vegan diets for periods of time because I liked how it made me feel and it jumpstarted my weight loss.
So with that out of the way, what are some easy ways to get in your fruits and vegetables? Emphasis on the easy. Someday I would like to eat a completely clean diet, however this is going to be a transition for me. Although I like to cook, I often avoid it the same way I avoid exercise... all that time, planning, and energy just for 20 minutes of good. Of course, just like exercise once I suck it up and do it, I feel much better. But the faster and easier it is, the more likely it is that I won't put it off. Hence my need to slowly wean away from convenience foods.
So, what are your favorite tips for getting fruits and vegetables quickly and without much fuss?
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