For most typical Americans vegetables have always represented a side dish. However, as time has gone on that side of vegetables has become smaller and smaller. As omnivores, meaning both meat and plant eaters, humans are designed to eat both foods and in a good balance.
There are a number of reasons why getting back to a good balance is a wise idea for everyone, but the main reason is health and weight. Eating more of the green stuff means being healthier and usually goes hand in hand with weight loss.
This is not to say that you can’t still enjoy your chicken, fish, and even lean meats, but you should start to think of ways in which you can make vegetables more than a tiny side dish alongside all the wrong kind of foods. Instead, think of ways in which you can highlight the vegetables and even downplay the meats a bit.
Here are five ways in which you can learn to love vegetables:
Find the Real Thing
When it comes to incorporating vegetables into your diet, it is best to re-think all the food you eat. Many will try and replace meats with plant based meat substitutes, which will only leave you feeling disappointed and often still hungry. Instead, it is better to start looking for real foods all the way around.
This means eating meats that are all natural with no preservatives or hormones added. It also means going organic with vegetables eating the kind that are pesticide free. While you might think this is the more expensive route to take, you will likely eat less of the real stuff as you will be eating real foods and not foods that contain chemicals and filler. Additionally, you will actually enjoy your food that much more, which will help you stay on the right track.
You probably already have a number of ways in which you feature meats to be the star of your meals, but you need to challenge yourself to do the same with vegetables. Again, leave meats in the equation, but just have them play a lesser role.
This will require you to find inspiration, which is everywhere if you simply look. Look online and find some tempting vegetable featured dishes that you think you might enjoy and then make them. What you will find is that you will only have to do this a number of times and then you will begin to formulate your own ideas and recipes as you get used to eating and enjoying more vegetables.
Once you are in the habit of eating more vegetables eating less meats is not a hard thing to do. However, as you make the transition, you can always take a couple of meals each week and simply substitute the proteins in them. You’ll still use vegetables as the centerpiece, but instead of using proteins that come from meat, chicken, or even fish, you’ll substitute that with other natural proteins.
Nuts, seeds, and beans are all great alternatives to meat and they taste great with vegetables. In addition, these meat substitutions will help you as you get used to consuming less and less meat without taking protein out of the equation.
Again, a great place to look for ideas with this is online. Many vegetarian and vegan websites will have all sorts of recipes that feature plenty of plant based proteins and absolutely no meats. Find at least five different ideas and try them all over the course of a couple weeks. See what you like and don’t like and don’t be afraid to mix things up a bit and try your own experimental ideas.
One of the wonderful things about eating more vegetables is that you will find yourself eating fresher ingredients, which means you will be at the store more often. Knowing that to be the case, you should shop accordingly.
As you buy your vegetables, think about how much you will consume and then pair that with the appropriate amount of meats. In this way you will find that you are buying meats only when you need them for meals and will therefore have less of them at your disposal. You can also stock up on some meat substitutes allowing you to control exactly what you have in the fridge available to you.
Anytime you are attempting to change a behavior, it is important to plan ahead. This goes hand in hand with shopping accordingly. If you have your meals planned out for the week then you will know exactly what you need to get ahead of time.
This exercise will also have you stretching the limits of your imagination and finding the inspiration you need in order to transition over to vegetables. You’ll want to change things up weekly so you don’t get bored, but at some point during the end of the week, you’ll want to make a game plan for the upcoming week so your vegetable eating goes the way it should and your good habits continue to blossom.