Personally, I did not grow up eating vegetables. The only “green” I remember eating as a child consisted of grapes on occasion and iceberg lettuce as I entered middle school.
I did grow up eating fresh foods like fruit, beans, grains and lean meats but my diet suffered when it came to the green stuff. My story does have a happy ending so hold tight.
As I decided to enter into the field of Exercise and Sports Sciences my husband would be the one to point out that he noticed I didn’t eat any vegetables! Talk about a light bulb moment! I was more like a deer in the headlights when he spoke those words. That day, I decided I needed to change that.
How could I be a personal trainer and group exercise instructor and not eat any vegetables?!
A little back story, before we started dating I saw him at a gathering and he was reaching for the raw vegetables platter and was eating broccoli like it was candy! Let’s just say I was completely impressed and what a turn on!! Also, deep down I knew I needed to be making that a habit in my life!
Back to the story…after recognizing that my diet needed an update I decided to add veggies into my routine. Here is what I started with. CORN!
I know, I know, it’s the worst vegetable because of the sugar and minimal nutrients it provides. But it was a start.
And that’s where YOU come into the story. Where will you start?
After graduating from corn and learning that it wasn’t providing me with any benefits I graduated to a frozen bag of mixed vegetables. And just in case you’re wondering there is nothing wrong with frozen vegetables. They may even provide a few more nutrients because they are frozen at their peak!
With the mixed vegetables it allowed me to add some green into the mix and not feel so overwhelmed. One small step in the right direction, is still a step!
Overtime, I was able to make the jump to broccoli and boy did I feel great about myself! Often times I would mix broccoli into dishes I already loved by chopping it into super tiny pieces. This was a game changer for me! Mixing it into dishes I already loved allowed me to reap the benefits of all the vitamins and nutrients broccoli had to offer.
As you begin to introduce new foods into your diet, more specifically nutrient dense vegetables your palate will begin to change.
Your body will start to enjoy the vegetables and you will surprise yourself when you realize you actually crave them!
If you don’t have time to cook your veggies then you can put them into your smoothies or you can make them into some amazing soups. The point is that you begin to consume them on the regular.
3 Ways to Start Eating More of the Green Stuff:
1. CHOP. CHOP. CHOP.
Chop the green stuff so tiny you don’t even recognize it. Put it into your favorite dishes or top it on a slice of pizza. (Yes, I said pizza!) More veggies are better than no veggies.
2. Go for MORE.
Try for at least 3 servings of vegetables a day. (Not corn) You don’t have to get your food scale out but a good rule of thumb is one cup = 1 serving
3. Start early.
Get your veggies in early in the day and then again at your last meal.
Remember the more you eat, the more your body will crave them, so when you start early in the day, you tend to reach for more as the day goes on. It’s also better to spread them out instead of eating three cups at one sitting. Your digestion will also run smoother if you eat them with every meal.
Ultimate Reset Sweet Potato and Roasted Red Pepper Bisque
(makes 1 serving)
1 cup of water
1 medium sweet potato (or yam), peeled, cubed
¼ medium red bell pepper
1 tsp. finely grated ginger root
1 ½ tsp. Extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp miso paste, mixed with 2 Tbsp. hot water (you can find this in the organic refrigerated section of your grocery store)
1 cup vegetable broth (or water)
Bragg Liquid Aminos (or Himalayan salt, to taste; optional)
Herbal Seasoning blend (to taste, optional)
Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat; add sweet potato; cook for 5-7 minutes. Drain, Set aside. Slice and remove the seeds of the pepper. Roast bell pepper on a grill or in the oven. Lay skin side down until it is charred. Place in a medium bowl, cover with a towel for 10 min. Peel skin under running water.
Place sweet potato, bell pepper, ginger, oil, miso and broth in a blender or food processor in 2 or more batches if necessary. Blend until smooth. If consistency is too thick add water. Heat soup in a medium saucepan, until hot. Add Bragg Liquid Aminos and seasoning blend if desired.
-Giselle Byars, Coach