It all remains vividly clear to me, sitting at the kitchen table as a child and encouraged by my parents to finish all the food on my plate. My parents didn’t believe in wasting food. They found that to be healthy, we needed to eat all the food on our plates, and they thought throwing food away was wasteful. Our family had six children, and we sat at a large kitchen table. Three children sat on one side and three on the other, with our parents sitting at the heads of the table. I usually managed to eat everything on the plate pretty quickly, except when it came to vegetables.
Day after day, I always managed to be the last one sitting at the table, and I can still hear my parents saying, “Eat your vegetables.” Oh, how I hated vegetables! I would do anything to get out of eating them. When my parents left the kitchen, I would quickly grab a fist full of napkins and slowly fork my food into my lap until it was all gone. I threw my napkins in the trash and put my plate in the sink, avoiding yet another night of what I considered nasty vegetables.
Unfortunately, I carried that lousy habit into adulthood and didn’t start enjoying vegetables until I had my children. I then started telling them, “Eat your vegetables.” My oldest son loved veggies and preferred them over have them over pasta, pizza, sweets, or any other type of food. My younger son was not that much of a veggie-lover, but I managed to get him to eat them.
According to choosemyplate.gov, women should receive between 2 ½ – 2 cups of vegetables per day, depending on age. The diet should include red, orange, yellow, and green vegetables. I have a few suggestions I use to get all of my daily suggested servings.
1. Try veggie burritos. I sauté my vegetables, add mushrooms, beans, or anything else I choose, put them in a spinach burrito along with dressing and enjoy a meal. Other ingredients such as brown rice, corn, or beans make a good meal.
2. Veggie Pizza – When my children were young, we enjoyed veggie pizzas full of all types of fresh vegetables.
3. Vegetable soup – Soups are especially lovely to eat in the winter and can be prepared alone or in combination with other food items.
4. Vegetable Stew – Vegetable stew with more chunky vegetables and less fluid can be filling and hearty. Stew is another good choice for a healthy meal and an excellent way to eat those veggies.
5. Vegetable Juice – If you can’t buy or make vegetable juice, purchase Green Superfood. It offers the benefits of vegetables and easy mixing. (you don’t need a juicer), it can be put in smoothies or other dishes compared to other green drinks and has a great taste compared to many other green drinks or juices. It is also beneficial to those trying to lose weight.
6. Vegetable and Fruit Smoothies – These smoothies are healthy and taste great. I enjoy smoothies as a refreshing drink or an excellent way to get a meal in the morning, especially if pressed for time. I have a recipe that includes bananas and oatmeal. I questioned if it would be tasty, but to my surprise, it was pretty good.
7. Barilla Veggie Pasta – I also buy Barilla veggie pasta, pictured below. Their pasta is made from pureed in-season vegetables. One serving of vegetables is in 3.5 oz of this pasta. And if you add vegetables to the pasta dish, you get even more vegetables. They also carry whole grain pasta, another healthier choice. They won the best new product award for 2014 from Better Homes and Gardens. You can only tell by the smell of it cooking that vegetables are in it. When the dish is prepared, I cannot tell the difference between this and regular pasta except for the whole grain version. It is sometimes hard to find the vegetable pasta in some stores. See if your local grocery store carries the vegetable pasta. If not, you can always order from Amazon. Barilla vegetable pasta
I have finally reached a point in my life where I can say I enjoy eating my vegetables. I’ve learned how to cook different dishes and share them with others who enjoy eating vegetables in new and different ways. So go ahead, eat your vegetables!