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Health & Wellness

6 Ways to Sneak More Nutrition into Your Diet

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Let’s be honest, we could benefit from a few extra fruits and vegetables now and throughout the year.

Here are some ways to sneak more healthy foods into your diet — without losing any delicious flavor.  

1. Plan ahead. If you have sliced up fruits and vegetables at your fingertips, you’re more likely to use them. Cut up carrots, green pepper and celery so you can easily add them to a salad or stir-fry. Look in the salad section of your grocery store for bags of shredded broccoli, kale, coleslaw mix or Brussels sprouts. With a little olive oil and a quick sauté, any of these can make a quick and easy side dish, or go great with scrambled eggs or brown rice for a filling meal.

 2. Eat more soup. Broth-based soups are a healthy, low-fat way to get lots of vegetables into your diet. And when it comes to making that soup, it doesn’t get much simpler than a slow cooker. You can create your favorite soups by putting in broth, protein and plenty of vegetables in the morning, and by evening it’s ready to go (and has filled your home with delicious aromas). Try chicken soup with zucchini and a squeeze of lemon, or vegetable broth with canned tomatoes, beans, carrots, onion, garlic, celery and thyme. Soup freezes well, so you can even save some for a healthy meal later on. Pro tip: Just before it’s done, add a handful of spinach leaves to any soup for a turbo-dose of vitamins.  

 3. Snack on fruit. Turn away from the chips, candy and crackers. You can sneak more fiber and vitamins into your diet by having a fruit snack whenever you get hungry. Fresh fruits like blueberries and strawberries can taste as good as candy. Apples and bananas are easy to grab on the go. And for a special treat, try something a little more exotic, like papayas, mangos and dragon fruit.

 4. Commit to meatless Mondays. Or, really, any meatless meal throughout the week. You can create a flavorful, satisfying vegetable stir-fry, stew, salad, hummus bowl or grain bowl using delicious fresh vegetables. Try adding chickpeas, lentils or beans into your meal rather than meat. Look up recipes for Indian, Mediterranean, Thai and Chinese dishes, which tend to be veggie-friendly. You may find some new favorites along the way.

 5. Feel the pressure. America is in love with pressure cookers right now, and for good reason — you can cook a whole chicken in about 20 minutes. Pressure cookers are remarkably versatile. You can make turkey meatballs, chili, chicken tikka masala, spaghetti, chicken soup, enchilada soup and just about anything else you’re craving, and you can do it quickly. So the next time you’re thinking about stopping for fast food or ordering takeout, consider your pressure cooker. In the amount of time it takes to have a pizza delivered, you could be eating a healthy, homemade meal.

 6. Go spiral. Another kitchen gadget that’s getting lots of love is a blade that transforms vegetables into ribbons. Think of the possibilities: “pasta” made from zucchini and butternut squash. Sweet potato ribbons. Rutabaga curls. Bows of beets. They’re all a reminder of how fun vegetables can be when repackaged and presented a new. 

Fruits and vegetables are incredibly adaptable and have the potential to improve the taste, texture and, of course, nutritional value of just about any dish. Have fun, be creative with your cooking and open your mind. Remember that phrase your parents used when you were a kid — “Try it, you might like it?” Well, that rings just as true today.

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