We’ve all grown up with parents, nannies, and grandparents telling us to make sure we eat our veggies. We’d follow them dutifully until the day we were able to eat independently. Some of us were successfully trained to eat vegetables with every meal, while the rest of us have held on to our resistance to veggies.
According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, people who ate more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day had a 20 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, compared with those who ate less than 3 servings per day. And our parents were right—veggies are bursting with nutrients, fiber, and potassium, which do better for your health than any workout or protein you’re getting.
If we’ve convinced you to try eating more greens, good for you! Just how much is enough? Nutritionists recommend that you aim for five servings a day to hit your nutrient requirements. One serving is equal to ½ cup of cooked veggies, 1 cup salad, or 1 medium sized potato. We know it’s not easy, so here are some ways to sneak those veggies into your meals without losing the fun of getting some good gains.
Stir fried dishes are usually served with lots of good veggies like peppers, onions, tomatoes, lettuce. Next time you’re at your favorite Asian restaurant, ditch the roasted duck or stewy meats and order a good meat-and-veggie stir fry.
Fond of grabbing a wrap post-workout? Any protein can be eaten with basic salad veggies—lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion, and carrots.
If you can’t bear the taste of veggies, try mixing them in with your rice. Go for fried rice with lots of carrots, peas, and easy-to-chop veggies (you can even opt for the frozen kind). That way, you lessen your carb intake, too.
Admit it, cheese can make anything better. Next time you make a classic, easy baked macaroni, add some chopped up broccoli and cauliflower, cover everything with cheese, and add chili flakes as you bake them. You won’t even notice the veggies.
Next time you try ordering a salad, read the ingredients carefully. If five different vegetables sound daunting, focus on the parts you do like—get salads that are served with your favorite protein, and think, the more variety, the better. Colorful salads are usually the tastiest, too.