When you think about vegetables, what comes to mind? Lettuce, broccoli, carrots, corn…. Maybe cooked or presented a certain way. I promise you, there’s a whole other world of veggies out there in addition to the handful you may be used to! A world filled with diverse and beautiful color, flavor, and texture, all offering their own unique benefits to your health and well-being.
Whatever your reason for wanting to incorporate more veggies in your diet, be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and be open to trying new things. Living in Southern California, we are blessed to have access to a wide variety of healthy and delicious vegetables year round. Here are three simple and approachable tips to get you started:
- Each shopping trip, pick one brand new veggie, or something you don’t regularly purchase. This will help you to explore and try new things, and get the range of health benefits from all the different veggies out there. This is especially fun at Farmers Markets where there are endless tables of fresh produce. Head to the San Clemente Farmers Market on Sundays (9am-1pm), and get to know the farmers and what they’re growing!
- Look up new recipes to get inspired. There’s nothing like a new recipe to get you out of your rut in the kitchen, and to teach you new skills and flavor combinations. When you’re feeling clueless as to how to make your new veggie you picked out from tip number one, or you’re wondering how else you can make broccoli other than steaming it, get out your cookbooks or head to Pinterest or your favorite online food blogs. Start with choosing one new recipe to try each week!
- Aim for at least two veggies each meal. This may be a challenge at first, but my hope is that it will eventually become a no-brainer and inspire you to continue exploring different veggies. Incorporating a leafy green is always a favorite choice for me, and easily checks one veggie off the list. As some examples, add spinach and bell pepper to your eggs in the morning, avocado and greens to your smoothie, or mushrooms, kale and green beans for dinner with chicken and potatoes.
You’re not expected to be an expert in the kitchen, but you have to be willing to try things out. Give yourself permission to experiment and make something awful or surprisingly delicious. Learn from each experience and keep track of what works and what you enjoy. Play around with how you cut your veggies, how you cook them, and what seasonings you use; there truly is a world of possibility out there. Time to explore!
By Aly Eads of Consciously Connected Health