There’s a bunch of suggestions out there for ways to eat more vegetables. Today we’re focusing on the best way to eat more vegetables FOR YOU.
Not in general, not just how anyone can, but what about you?
What will help YOU eat more vegetables?
By the way, you can use this same process for any goal you want to work on, (doesn’t even have to be nutrition-related) so if you’ve got another goal that comes to mind, just read [your goal here] instead of [eat more vegetables].
1) Start with a question: Why do you want to eat more vegetables?
To get more fiber? To lower your blood sugar? To help you lose weight? Because you want to eat fewer animal products? Because you want to broaden your palate? To have beautiful Instagram salads? Because someone told you to?
Why you want to eat more vegetables may help you narrow down the best way to go about doing it.
If it’s to get more fiber, look up some high fiber vegetables to start with – or see how many of your favorite vegetables you need to eat to reach your fiber goal.
If it’s to lower blood sugar, make sure the vegetables you are choosing will actually help you lower your blood sugar.
If it’s to broaden your palate, you will want to choose a variety of vegetables – maybe quality over quantity is your goal.
If you’re not sure why, or you’re doing it just because someone told you to, take some time to figure out why you want to.
If you know why, it’s easier to maintain long term motivation.
2) Ask the next question: What keeps you from eating as many vegetables as you would like?
Really think about this.
Is it that you get bored of eating broccoli and carrots all the time?
Is it because you hate mushy-textured boiled vegetables?
Is it because you’re intimidated by cooking vegetables?
Is it because you hate washing your cutting board?
Is it because you don’t have a place to store fresh vegetables or they are difficult to afford and go bad too fast?
Is it because your family doesn’t eat veggies and you don’t want to be/are tired of being the only one eating them?
Make sure you know your barrier (or barriers). Only then you can move onto the next step.
Guess what, it’s another question:
3) How can you solve the problem?
Brainstorming any and all ideas can be helpful, but make sure that whatever solution you choose is something you can actually picture yourself doing. Something that’s realistic and might even seem easy or too simple. Successfully completing a goal (even a small one) can propel you toward the next one, so choose a step that you are as likely as possible to do
If you’re bored of the same veggies, can you pick one new vegetable to try each time you go to the store or sign up for a CSA near you?
If you hate mushy veggies, are you ok with eating crunchy raw veggies or crispy roasted ones? (Lots of different ways to eat veggies can be found at itsavegworldafterall.com)
If you’re intimidated by cooking vegetables, can you start with those microwave-in-bag vegetables? Can you buy pre-chopped vegetables if you really hate chopping or washing your cutting board?
If you can’t store much fresh produce, can you look up some recipes for ways to use canned or frozen vegetables? Are there resources you can connect with to help you afford some more vegetables? (In the U.S. you can always call 211 to find out what local services are available near you)
Very important note: Choosing a very achievable and realistic step may not bring you to your ideal yet- your ultimate goal. That’s ok. The important thing is that this steps brings you closer to your ultimate goal
4) Do it.
Do the thing (or things) that will make eating vegetables easier for you.
Then, hey look at that! Either you’re eating more vegetables now, or you’ve realized that there were barriers you didn’t initially think of that you can now figure out how to overcome because you know what they are. Either way, you’ve moved forward toward your goal.
If you are stuck on any of these steps, a dietitian (like me :D) should be able to help you figure them out 🙂
Also sometimes just talking through these steps with a good listener (even if that’s your dog, your toddler, or your favorite houseplant) can help you realize what you already know, if you know what I mean.
What goals are you working on? What goal setting strategies work for you? What are the barriers you’ve identified? And how are you overcoming them?