Many of our tried and true recipes and dishes can be ‘modified’ to increase vegetables, fiber, and fruits by making simple adjustments to meals we already eat. Many of us love watching chefs on TV but tend to go back to old favorites, i.e., macaroni and cheese, potato salad, beef stew, soup, fried chicken, broccoli casserole, spaghetti, etc.
If we’re really trying to consume a healthy diet, it is great hearing here are many foods/nutrients that we may need to increase! Many Americans are consuming far less than the recommendations for fruits, vegetables, and fiber. While many of us report ‘liking’ fruits and vegetables – are we actually consuming enough on a daily basis?
Let’s take spaghetti – (almost) everybody prepares and or eats it. How can we increase the vegetables in our spaghetti? We could always add more tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, sautéed onions, and garlic… the typical ‘spaghetti-ingredients’ and have a spinach salad on the side. This is fine.
Get creative – consider adding – spaghetti squash in place of pasta; beans (black, white, navy, Great Northern), chopped cauliflower, broccoli, shredded or pureed carrots, spinach (fresh, frozen, canned), eggplant, zucchini, etc. Ideas shared with me by folks: add apple slices or mandarin oranges, add nuts (great protein source), cinnamon for ‘sweetening’.
Salt is one way to flavor food; there is a multitude of others. Sauté fresh onions and garlic in olive oil before adding to the sauce. Consider – freshly ground black pepper, white pepper, red pepper, a dash of pepper sauce (i.e., Tabasco ®), onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, sage, poultry seasoning, Italian seasoning, fresh or dried bay leaf, oregano, mint. Use fresh herbs vs. dried – the flavor of fresh herbs is more ‘delicate’ (double or triple amount of fresh herbs to dried).
How can we ‘modify’ favorite dishes, recipes, meals, menus to include fruits and vegetables?
**Consider your individual health status – doctor’s orders, special or therapeutic diets and or restrictions, etc. as you make dietary and lifestyle changes.