Day 12 – All We are Saying, is Give Peas (and Kale) a Chance

Day 12’s tip of  31 Days of Healthy Ways to Enjoy the Holidays More is to make vegetables the star of your plate.  Keep holiday weight gain at bay and keep your immune system strong by fueling your body with plant foods.

Not only does eating lots of vegetables fill you up for few calories but they also keep your digestive system moving when it could otherwise get bogged down by all the goodies that find their way inside during the holidays.  You should plan to fill at least half your plate with vegetables.

We all know we should be doing this so why is it so hard sometimes?  Probably because of how much prep work that comes with eating vegetables. No one wants to come home from a long day at work and wash, chop and cook vegetables.  It’s so much easier just to slap a sandwich together or boil some pasta, right?  Here’s how to make veggies easier:

1.  When you come home from the grocery store, spend an hour washing, peeling and chopping all your veggies.  Put the prepared vegetables in storage containers in the fridge and you’ll be ready to cook when dinner rolls around.

2. Buy pre-washed salad greens, like the one’s by Olivia’s Organics.  No prep needed!

3.  Stock up on bags of frozen veggies.  Great to throw in to quick stir fries or soups.

The other reason we skimp on veggies when we’re busy is a lack of knowing how to prepare them so they don’t taste like cardboard.  Here are a few tasty & simple ways to prepare them:

1.  Salad bar time.  Stock up on pomegranates, pumpkin seeds, roasted chestnuts, olives, dried cranberries, avocado, sun dried tomatoes, sunflower seeds and other healthy goodies to top your salad with in a pinch.  Combine one or two of those things with the veggies you’ve pre washed and chopped, a little olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar and you have an awesome salad.

2.  Roast seasonal produce at 400 degrees with a drizzle of olive oil and a little sea salt until soft and lightly browned.  Try any combination of:  Brussels sprouts, beets, turnip, acorn squash, butternut squash, onions, garlic, carrots, parsnips, celery root, potatoes and sweet potatoes. Amazing.  I dare you not to like roasted veggies.  It’s vegetable candy for your mouth.

3. Steam cruciferous green bad boys like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choy and spinach and drizzle with a little tamari and lemon juice.  Or top with a dollop of your favorite hummus.  Or chipotle spiked greek yogurt.

4.  Stir fry mushrooms, peas, scallions and cabbage in a little unrefined organic coconut oil.   Add some fresh ginger, garlic and a chili paste if you can handle the heat.  Add some coconut milk if you dig it. Done.

5. Leftover veggies from any one of these ideas?  Add chicken broth, maybe a can of organic diced tomatoes, some spices and protein and you’re good to go.

Serve any of these vegetable stars with the protein of your choice and maybe some whole grains like quinoa, brown rice or millet. Yum and done.   And you’ll probably have enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Veggies don’t have to be hard if you’re willing to be creative and set aside a little time once a week to tackle them.  What are your favorite ways to eat your veggies?

Roasted vegetables don't taste healthy.

Roasted vegetables don’t taste healthy.

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