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The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified reducing the amount of meat in our diets as a key step toward decreasing the greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change. However, this is easier said than done. In Western society, most of us are used to eating meat with every meal. And although enough calories are technically being produced to feed everyone on earth a full diet, not enough fruits and vegetables are being produced to feed everyone a healthy diet. As consumers, we can have an effect on this pattern by increasing demand for more healthy foods, but this does not necesarily mean sacrificing flavour!

 

Vegetables are a very important part of our diet that provide us with the nutrients we need to stay healthy. These include potassium, fiber, folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and many more. Sometimes it’s a challenge to figure out how to include more vegetables in our diets. In today’s post I’m going to be sharing some easy and delicious ways to up your intakes.

 

Eating Seasonally

 

Eating seasonally is a method that is very beneficial in many ways. Firstly, when eating seasonally foods are fresher. This means better taste and a longer shelf life. Also, since these vegetables are in season, they are less expensive for farms to distribute. This means they are cheaper for you to buy. Eating seasonally also naturally provides you with a good variety of different vegetables. This variety ensures you get an array of different vitamins and minerals to keep your diet balanced. See the link at the end of the post for a list of seasonal vegetables in Ontario.

 

Swapping

 

In many dishes it is easy to swap certain ingredients out.

 

  • Noodles can be swapped with spiralized vegetables
  • Mushrooms can be a good alternative to ground meat
  • Swap mild tasting veggies for some fruit in your smoothie
    • Good options include spinach, kale and avocado
  • Try swapping out a bun with a lettuce wrap

You can add veggies to almost anything, so get creative!

 

Cooking Methods

 

Sometimes we only stick with what we know and play it safe. To expand your options try using different cooking methods. If you’ve only had a vegetable prepared a certain way and didn’t like it, you may actually enjoy it cooked differently. Most vegetables can be roasted, grilled, steamed or boiled. Roasting is actually one of the best methods to retain all those valuable nutrients. Try roasting in the oven with some olive oil, salt and pepper.

 

Soups!

 

Soups are another method to increase vegetable intake. You can utilize vegetables in so many ways to create a great tasting soup. You can puree them into a soup base or save vegetable scraps to make your own vegetable broth. Most soups can hold a variety of vegetables and legumes ranging from lentils and beans to carrots and zucchini. This is an especially good option for picky eaters. This way you can add different kinds of vegetables in that you normally wouldn’t eat by themselves.

 

Meal Prepping

 

You are much more likely to eat your recommended servings if you have a plan in place. By having your veggies prepped for the week it will make them accessible to you. You will be more likely to reach for them if you’ve put some work into it and they are already prepared for you to grab and go. This also helps with reducing your food waste because you will be more likely to eat them before they spoil.

 

Shelf Life

 

Knowing the shelf life of your veggies and how to properly store them can save you money and reduce food waste. See the link below of most common veggies and how to properly store them.

 

Bulk and Frozen

 

Bulk lentils and beans can be purchase for a fraction of the price of canned ones. These are good staples to have on hand. Simply rehydrate them in water before use. Frozen vegetables are also another good option to have on hand. Contrary to what you may have heard, frozen vegetables contain the same benefits as fresh vegetables because they are frozen at peak ripeness. No loss in vitamins and minerals here!

 


 

At the end of the day, you are what you eat! Trying slowly integrating these strategies into your normal eating habits. By slowly increasing intakes you will build long-lasting healthy eating habits. The weather is starting to get colder and we are starting to spend more time indoors. This a great opportunity to spend some time in the kitchen and try something new!

 

 

Eating Seasonally::

https://www.ontario.ca/foodland/page/availability-guide

 

Guelph Family Health Team, Rock What You’ve Got  

https://guelphfamilyhealthstudy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Rock-What-Youve-Got-Recipes-Sept-2019-Web.pdf

 

Storing Vegetables

https://www.halfyourplate.ca/fruits-and-veggies/veggies-a-z/

 

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