I was hired as someone’s personal chef for a couple of weeks this summer.  As I was cooking and packing the food, I thought to myself “it’s amazing how many vegetables I can squeeze into one meal!”  Today we’ll discuss how you can start to infiltrate your plate with veggies (without having to get a graduate degree in nutrition).

Never let your grains leave the pot without a buddy.  Frozen or low-sodium canned vegetables make a good fast addition to cooked grains.  Beans or corn go well with small grains like brown rice, and they give your meal an extra protein boost.  Try tossing frozen broccoli or sliced bell peppers in with your whole grain pasta, just add them in the cooking water for the last minute or two.

How would that meal look with a handful of spinach on top?  Keep a bag of baby spinach on hand for last-minute veggie additions.  Making pasta?  That spinach will wilt in there nicely if you stir it in while it’s still hot.  Got a sandwich?  How about some greens between your meat and cheese?  Spinach is a great source of calcium, iron, and vitamin A.

Sauces and spreads and dressings, oh my!  Here’s where you can get creative.  Any number of vegetables can be blended up into items like tomato sauce, hummus, or a mustard vinaigrette.  You can tell I’m a fan of this from the Edamame Dip and Tart Green Pesto recipes from Healthy Snack Sunday.  Why not add a pureed zucchini-onion-kale-tomato sauce to your whole grain pasta that already has frozen broccoli and fresh spinach in it?  Now we’re talking!

To get some ideas for veggie-rich sauces and spreads, check out this page from Choosing Raw.

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