Q. I’m not a big fan of vegetables, but I know I’m supposed to have more. Our yearly work health assessment said that I am not getting enough vegetables, and that would be something I should work on. Are there any ways to sneak more vegetables in? Can the fruit/vegetable juices such as V-8 Splash count as some of my vegetables? C.C. Holland, MI
A. There are a number of reasons to increase your portions of vegetables, including:
- Vegetables can make you feel more full with lighter calories.
- They can help reduce blood cholesterol levels.
- They won’t hurt your blood sugar.
- They contain lots of phytochemicals that are known to benefit human health.
For people who don’t think of themselves as vegetable eaters, I usually have them look at a list of the non-starchy vegetables, and circle the ones they do like. Chances are they like a few more than they think. Not everyone likes every vegetable (I like most all vegetables, but I haven’t found a reliable tasty way to fix eggplant yet, other than the high-calorie version of eggplant parmesan.)
Once you know the vegetables you are willing to eat, the answer is to eat more of them! You like green beans? Have one cup instead of just one-half cup. You like carrots? Throw some extra slices into your homemade soup. And so on.
I usually do not promote juices or juice blends as a way to get more vegetables, because they are lacking the beneficial fiber (that helps cholesterol and helps make you feel full). But hey, I do run into total non-vegetable eaters once in awhile, and juice is probably a little better than nothing.
The photo above is an example of one way to increase your vegetable intake; by adding more veggies to canned soups.
For my example, I started with one 19-ounce can of Campbell’s Chunky beef barley soup, added a 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes, and 2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables. This combo was heated and split with my husband.
By having soup this way instead of each having a can of soup and calling it good, we each got an extra three servings of vegetables and bumped the fiber up to 13 grams per serving instead of 8. If you need to watch sodium, I suggest getting the “Healthy Request” version of the soup (half the sodium) and a lower sodium canned diced tomatoes.