When you were younger, your parents likely had to develop some cunning and creative tricks to get you to eat your vegetables. And chances are, you're still not eating enough of them. According to The Huffington Post, a study by the University of Warwick and Dartmouth College found that while eating five servings of these foods per day is typically recommended by health professionals, consuming seven servings daily is actually associated with peak well-being. Intimidated? Don't be. There are plenty of ways to sneak them into your diet so you can enjoy all of the gains without gagging.
When I need a little inspiration, I look to Carol Alt's book "easy sexy raw," which has 130 recipes as well as tips and tricks for swapping out typical ingredients for greens. The best part about these dishes is that they incorporate vegetables in their raw, natural form, which is when they're the most potent nutritional powerhouses.
Guzzling down a smoothie is one of the quickest, easiest ways to nourish your body with essential vitamins and nutrients from vegetables, especially those you don't find particularly palatable. Fox News recommended incorporating kale, spinach and other dark leafy greens for added fiber with very few calories. Mixing berries or other fruits into these blends can mask any bitterness to make them taste sweeter, while adding Greek yogurt boosts the protein content and provides a creamier consistency. Everyday Health pointed to strawberry rhubarb and carrot mango as winning combinations.
If you don't feel like mixing your own, David Kirsch's ultimate detox kit comes with five packets of Super Charged Greens for an instant alternative. Pour your blend into the reusable bkr bottle for a boost on the go, whether you're headed to the office, gym or just running errands.
A tomato-dense pasta sauce is already an easy way to get your vegetables in, but there are plenty of ways to cram in even more greens. Try dicing up mushrooms into marinara, mashing cauliflower into alfredo or pureeing broccoli into pesto. Eating Well recommended amping up tomato sauce with canned pumpkin puree, which is high in fiber to fill you up faster. Everyday Health also suggested tossing de-skinned roasted peppers into the blender with olive oil for a flavorful and less sugary alternative to ketchup.
Fake it till you bake it
When all else fails, incorporate veggies into baked goods. Carrot cake is an obvious choice, but LiveIt! Magazine explained that carrots can also be easily disguised in brownies. Just steam them, toss them into a food processor and mix them into the batter. Not only do they make for a healthier dessert, but they can also provide a chewier texture. Shape magazine advised replacing fruits in a dessert with a vegetable that has a similar texture. Zucchini bread and sweet potato pie are tried and true confections, but beets, squash and spinach can also be easily concealed in a sweet treat.
With your veggies cleverly disguised, you're on your way to becoming a lean, mean, green-powered machine.