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Clever Ways to Sneak More Veggies Into Your Day

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How to sneak more veggies into your diet

Even for those who like veggies, it can be a real challenge to consume the recommended number of servings each day (according to Canadas Food Guide, half of every plate should be veggies and fruit). But with improved immune health on all of our minds lately, its never been more important to eat the rainbow. Thankfully, its easy to stealthily wiggle nutrient-dense vegetables into everyday dishes without even picky eaters putting up a fuss.Here are our favourite ways to sneak more veggies on your plate at every meal.


If oatmeal is already a go-to, give this breakfast staple a hit of natural sweetness reminiscent of carrot cake by stirring 1 cup (250 mL) grated carrot, 3 tbsp (45 mL) ground flaxseed and 1/2 tsp (2 tsp) cinnamon into a pot of simmering oats. Top with berries, nuts and a drizzle of maple syrup. Why carrots? Theyre packed with beta-carotene, an antioxidant thats linked to a lower risk of breast cancer.Do you prefer to drink your brekkie? Try this smoothie thats brimming with Popeyes favourite vegetable. Baby spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A, which is necessary to stimulate white blood cells for better immunity. Bonus: Liquefying the greens reduces their flavour profile so that the taste of them disappears. Translation: You wont feel like youre drinking a salad. Ditto for baby kale. Try buzzing together 1 cup (250 mL) milk, 1 cup (250 mL) baby spinach, 1/2 cup (125 mL) plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup (125 mL) frozen pineapple, 2 tbsp (30 mL) hemp hearts, and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) allspice.(Related: 30 more breakfast ideas that are super healthy.)


Whats on your lunch menu: a sandwich or maybe an egg-based dish? Consider adding lightly sauted, grated sweet potato to your favourite frittata recipe. The orange spud delivers vitamin B6 to keep your metabolism in tip-top shape and help see you through an afternoon of meetings.Or maybe youre looking for something more classic, like an ooey-gooey grilled cheese. For a sammie youll flip over, mash 2 cups (500 mL) cubed, cooked butternut squash with 1 cup (250 mL) shredded Cheddar cheese, 1/3 cup (75 mL) sliced sun-dried tomato, and 1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh thyme. Spread on bread before grilling.Butternut squash beefs up this comfort-food masterpiece with extra fibre to crush hunger, while sun-dried tomatoes boost levels of vitamins C and K.


Heres an awesome and easy swap that will help you rack up bonus points in the nutrient column. When mixing ingredients for burgers or meat loaf, swap half of the ground beef for 1/2 lb (250 g) chopped, sauted cremini or button mushrooms. Not only does this instantly slash calories but research shows that meaty mushrooms are a source of potent antioxidants to aid in healthy aging.For the mashed potato side to your meat loaf, replace half the spuds with steamed cauliflower florets. Simply pulse the cooked potatoes and cauliflower together in a food processor, along with a knob of butter and any other desired seasonings. This trendy veg is a good source of vitamin K, which can be a heart-hero nutrient by improving blood pressure.(Related: These are the vegetables to buy frozen.)


Whats a family favourite that no one is going to turn down? Chocolate pudding! You can sneak in heart-healthy avocados, which are known to improve cholesterol numbers, for a no-cook fudgy pudding. Simply blend together the flesh of 2 small avocados, 2/3 cup (150 mL) milk, 1/4 cup (50 mL) maple syrup, 1/4 cup (50 mL) cocoa powder, 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla, 1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon and a pinch of salt and chill for two hours.

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Choose veggies that multitaskBeets, for instance, have a range of health benefitsfrom lowering blood pressure (thanks to their high nitrate levels) to providing detox support (due to the megadose of betalains they contain). Beets are also good for the brain. They contain betaine, an amino acid used to form the brain chemicals responsible for our bodys natural antidepressants.Remember that good things come in small packagesOne impressive little is peas. Did you know that with only 70 calories per half cup and five grams each of fibre and protein, peas offer the hunger-crushing duo thats proven to help manage your weight. This humble veggie is so much more than a basic side-dish standby, says Abbey Sharp, RD. Each tiny pea is packed with plant-based phytonutrients, including carotenoids and vitamin C, which help promote strong vision, reduce your risk of heart disease and improve immunity. Peas are also a surprising source of powerful polyphenol compounds, which have been linked to a reduced risk of gastric cancer.Want more recipes? Here are some veggie-packed ideas:

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