Trying to Get More Veggies in Your Diet? Here’s the 10 Step System I Created to Make It Easy & Fun!

Over the past several months, I have been on a search for a new doctor. I am looking for a doctor that will work with me and my lifestyle and support my choices.  Every year, I make my current doctor upset when I refuse vaccines for my kids and don’t get the flu shot.  As I settle into the middle age of my life, it is important to me and my family we can be preventative and proactive.  I don’t know about you, but I need all the support I can get.

I think I am having some kind of hormonal and/or thyroid balancing issues going on.  It is just the beginning, but I want to be sure and be on top of it.  After asking around, I finally get in touch with a doctor that takes a holistic approach to medicine, he is an O.D., and people have moved half-way across the country to be his patients.  I am so excited to be able to work with him on my health.

During my first visit he asks me to get a series of blood tests that will help him narrow in on my personal level of homeostasis.  The two blood draws need to happen 10 hours apart during one day.  The first blood draw happens first thing in the morning, after I have been fasting.  He also gave me some rules around my diet the day before.  I am thinking that these rules are going to apply to my daily life. I am sure you have heard before, because I know I have, but we are supposed to get 10 servings of vegetables every day. I know I eat a lot of vegetables, but what is a serving? How many of them was I eating?  These questions are not that easy to answer, but if implement the following strategies I came up with, I know I can do it.

1. Plan 

Looking ahead into the calendar and taking into account the family social schedule and travel schedule, I can look to prepare recipes that will accommodate.  This may mean that sometimes I make extra for leftover or freezing.  Or it may mean that I take some extra time to chop veggies I can use for a different recipe.  But, if I make an eating calendar, I can always know my framework.

2. Store

Like I mentioned up above, I can make recipes for leftovers or for freezing.  Some of the veggies I prep can even be put into the freezer.  The trick here is knowing what and how much.  It would be helpful to come up with a system to track what is in there.

3. Schedule  

As part of the planning process, I think it will be important to make more time for preparing the meals in general.  I often get caught in the trap of starting to think about making dinner too late in the day.  It would also be helpful to just have simple routines around meal time.  For instance, veggies for an appetizer or follow-up a good meal with a salad.

4. Reframe  

One thing that is challenging for me as I am constantly dealing with past food addictions to certain processed gems of my childhood or just cheese, is that I think I am entitled to eat them or I deserve the treat.  In reframing my diet to focus on the nutritious food I can put into my body to support the life I live helps build in the gratitude and the perspective.  I don’t feel I am missing out so much this way.

5. Strategize 

Building off planning and scheduling is the larger strategy. I think this has to do with shopping and where my food comes from.  For instance, in order to be sure we get our veggies in the summertime, we participate in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  We get all sorts of exciting produce we might not think to buy otherwise.  Also, we simply don’t buy the types of food we don’t want to eat.  This means that when I am shopping, I often end up avoiding entire aisles (even in the local co-op).

6. Delegate  

Involving your family into meal prep and making can be helpful for many, many reasons.  The first obvious one is simply so you don’t have to do all the cooking.  But, you get to see what other family member’s ideas are on making new dishes.  The kids love to get going with food prep and helping out with meals in general.  My hope is that the variety they bring to the table will be enticing.

7. Colorize

 Purposefully and intentionally bring as many colors to a meal as possible using only vegetables. The more colorful your plate, the more you know you are getting a diverse vitamins and nutrients.

8. Re-prioritize

Instead of envisioning meals in a standard way making sure to get all the food groups on the plate, start with the vegetable as the main course and build side dishes off of that.

9. Grow 

This may possibly be the most fun of all, especially if you have kids. Make a garden and grow the veggies you want to eat.  Enlist your kids to help plan and pick out which ones to grow. There is something super satisfying about eating food that you have grown yourself.

10. Explore

Another tactic to get your daily veggie quota, is to consciously make it an international affair. Different culture and ethnicities use different vegetables, different seasons and have different methods of preparation. This can be a simple way to bring a new twist to old favorites. Just making this list helps to assure me I can get in at least 10 servings of veggies in a day. I look forward to continuing my healing journey with this new doctor and that I am inspired to take on his reminder to get my full spectrum of proper nutrition. But, what would you add or take away from this list?  What about this list is most helpful? I hope you did find this helpful and it will be easier for you to eat more veggies!

Lisa Reinhardt