By Anh Van Nguyen
I think we can all agree that vegetables should be an essential part of our diets. When I was living down in Ecuador, I had the privilege of being within walking distance of markets that sold fresh fruits and vegetables, straight from the farm. It was definitely convenient then to stop by a vegetable stand on my walk home from work to pick up some lettuce and other ingredients to make soup and salad for dinner.
Living in the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, however, makes it a bit more difficult to eat healthy on a regular basis. When I do have the time to cook, I prefer something quick and easy. And washing, chopping, and the other steps that go into prepping veggies, not to mention having to plan out what to buy ahead of time, do not fall into the quick and easy category. I don’t know about you, but many times my veggies go bad long before I get around to cooking them.
These, of course, are not good enough excuses to cut vegetables out of my diet entirely. I decided to change my routine one step at a time, just to make it more manageable. Here are some tips:
1. Prep your vegetables at the beginning of the week. I find that if I have already chopped, trimmed, and washed, I’m more likely to add it to my meal. My Sunday evenings are pretty relaxed, and that is when I find time to myself to prepare for the coming week. I use this time to cut up lettuce to have salad on the go, as well as prep much of the veggies I’ve bought to cook during the week.
2. Cook in larger portions. I do not have time to cook every night of the week, so when I do have time, I make sure that there are plenty of leftovers. Bored with eating the same thing every day? Mix it up a little by using the leftovers in creative ways. My go-to method is to add them to fried rice. Voila, a whole new dish without all the effort.
3. Incorporate vegetables into every meal. You don’t need to limit yourself to lunch and dinner. How about a light salad for breakfast? Spinach brownies for dessert?
Pretty simple, right? It just takes a bit of creative thinking and planning. How do you add more vegetables to your family’s diets? Share your tips in the comments below.