Ready to eat and enjoy more vegetables?! ETGveggies is an easy 5 day challenge to help you add more vegetables to your diet and incorporate new ones along the way. New recipes, tips, tricks, and more to get over your objections with veggies!
YAY! It’s here! I’m so excited for ETGveggies!! I’ve been planning this fun veggie challenge or a few weeks now after you guys said you wanted to do one and am so excited to kick it off tomorrow!
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry. I’ll be breaking it down for in this post. It’s basically a 5 day challenge to help you eat more veggies, enjoy them, and hopefully add some new ones to you diet.
If you know me personally, you know I eat A LOT of veggies. Like seriously, I would say they probably make up 70-90% of my diet, sometimes even more. I eat them at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And I’m always adding them into whatever I can – hashes, smoothies, oatmeal (yes, haha!), salad, meatballs, stir fry, on pizza, and even in desserts.
I’m not sure where my love for veggies came from, but I have always had a good relationship with them. We grew up eating a lot of them – we had a garden in the backyard, my dad would bring home pounds and pounds of them from New Jersey, and my mom was a pescatarian. My family still jokes how I used to asked for “more balls” when I wanted more peas when I was little haha.
So really I can thank my parents for bringing me up with a wide variety of them. My childhood was still filled with processed and super crappy food at times, but I had a good relationship with vegetables.
I then became a pescatarian in college after reading a dumb book that scared the shit out of me. My love for them really grew then. I didn’t really eat that much “fake meat” products and relied mostly on vegetables and some fish and eggs in my diet. It definitely wasn’t the healthiest, but that is where I really started to eat more and more of them.
Even though my diet and lifestyle has changed over the past 5-7 years, I still rely heavily on vegetables each day. They are such powerhouses when it comes to nutrients – packed with all different kinds of vitamins and minerals and really have the power to do some wonderful things in our bodies. I don’t get sick too often and I credit a lot of that to my diet.
But I’m not perfect. I eat a lot of them, but get it ruts. We usually buy the same ones over and over again at the store and prepare them the same way cause it’s easy and familiar. So this challenge is not only for you, but for me. I asked on Instagram and over 90% of you said yes! So here we are, ready to eat some more veggies!
ETGveggies – A 5 day Veggie Challenge
So how does the ETGveggies challenge work!? I wanted to keep it pretty simply so everyone can join and participate. Let’s break it down.
For 5 days:
- Eat 6+ cups of veggies a day
- Add in at least one veggie you haven’t tried OR a veggie that you like that you don’t usually prepare at home
It’s that simple!
Eat 6+ cups of veggies a day
Each day you need to eat at least 6 cups of veggies a day. They can be measured raw as they will cook down some when cooked. You actually don’t have to measure if you don’t want, but a rough guesstimate. I think 6+ cups totally doable for everyone. You can add them however you like but two at breakfast, lunch, and dinner makes an easy 6 cups.
I was going to do 8+ cups, but after asking some people, didn’t want to make it too crazy. So 6 it is. No excuses now 😋
What veggies are included?
All veggies!! Seriously – any vegetable you can think of counts. Leafy greens, potatoes, squash, peppers, onions, root veggies, cruciferous ones, flowers….ANY!
I am encouraging you to get in a wide variety. While you could eat 6 cups of potatoes, that kind of defeats the challenge you know.
Add in at least one veggie you haven’t tried OR a veggie that you like that you don’t usually prepare at home
“It is estimated that there are over 20,000 species of edible plants yet only 20 species represent 90% of our food. This has a big impact on agrobiodiversity but also on our diet, mainly due to distortion of the natural reality that has allowed us today to eat tomatoes, eggplants and watermelons all year round whenever we want. We understand that it is easier to eat the same things all the time, but it’s definitely not better for the environment or for you. So, if we want to eat better we need to start looking for different types of vegetables that we can produce locally.” (source)
I know a lot of us get in ruts – we stick to the foods are easy for us to find, prepare, and eat. And I totally get that, it makes our lives easier. I want to challenge you to break from your norm and try something new. It doesn’t have to be completely new, but maybe something you had once or twice and enjoyed, but don’t buy. Make it fun!
I’ll be trying some new vegetables this week and might even hit up a new grocery store to see what I can discover!
What to expect for ETGveggies?
This week I’m be sharing 5 vegetable recipes that you can incorporate into your routine. From easy salads, a grilled veggie, a quick sautéed green bean, and even a smoothie. There will be one recipe that uses a veggie I love, I just don’t usually buy it.
The recipes will all be easy to make with different flavor profiles to keep it interesting. None of the recipes are super out of the norm. I wanted to keep it easy for y’all and since is the first time I’m ever doing something like this, I wanted to keep it simple.
If you have some veggies you would like me to include going forward, leave a comment and let me know!
How to Participate in ETGveggies!
Okay, so how can you participate?! It is really quite easy! Challenge starts on Monday, May 13th and will run until Friday, May 17th. All you have to do is show me how you are eating more veggies!
Use the hashtag #ETGveggies on social media (Instagram or Facebook), tag me in Instagram stories, send me a direct message on Instagram with your plate, or send me an email with your meals! Really however you want to show me, go for it! And it doesn’t have to be one of the recipes I’m posting – however you are eating your veggies works!
The more you participate, the more you will be entered to win some fun prizes! At the end of the week I’ll be giving away some gift cards, coupons for veggies, and some sauce for adding to your veggies.
Struggles with eating more Vegetables
I asked you guys on Instagram what your struggles were with eating more veggies and there was a wide variety of problems. Here are some of the main concerns and while these answers might not work for everyone, these are my suggestions!
My significant other doesn’t like them
This one makes me giggle a little. If you guys only knew what Michael ate when we first started dating. He stuck to the things he knew, which was a meat and potato type diet. I don’t think he had even had an avocado! So I totally get where you are coming from.
It took a little time, but he is great eater for the most part now. The best solution I have for this is keep making them and having them try and eat them. I am usually the one making dinner so what I make is what we eat. Of course I’ll accommodate to him some, but not so much that the meal is totally different.
The veggie I make are what we ate. To be honest, everyone knows that vegetables are good for you so at some point they just need to grow up and eat them. Keep making them and keep having your partner try them. Try different cooking techniques to change the texture. Different spices or sauces to change the flavor. Keep trying. They will come around and find things they like and enjoy.
My kids don’t like them
This questions is totally out of my realm as I don’t have kids and I can only imagine the struggle to eat healthy. My only suggestion would be to keep trying. Don’t give in when they say they want something else instead.
I’ve also heard that giving them options is helpful – do you want broccoli or carrots tonight for dinner? Having them involved in the process makes them feel included and helpful.
These are just suggestions and I understand it is a lot harder than it looks. I don’t have kids!
Don’t like them/can’t make them taste good without anything unhealthy added to them
There are SO MANY different veggies out there. There must be some that you like. If you don’t like the ones you’ve tried, make them in a different way. There are so many ways you can prepare them – sautéing, roasting, blanching, steaming, grilling, pan frying…get creative. One of my favorite ways is roasting – it is easy and they get nice and crispy and caramelized.
Also try using different spices and flavor combinations. The bulk spice section can be your best friend. I love looking for new spice blends that I haven’t heard of and trying them out. Recently I picked up some ras el hanout. I have no idea what it is, but my sister told me to try it so I got some.
No one like plain steamed Brussel sprouts. No one. Roast them with with some garlic powder, ground ginger, and balsamic. Shred them in a salad. Cheesy buffalo Brussels anyone? I highly suggest topping them with different sauces. There are plenty of healthy sauces out there to buy or recipes to make at home. Try one of these 6 Whole30 sauces to spice things up.
There are so many ways to make veggies taste good, keep experimenting.
Can’t digest them well/wreck my stomach
I can totally relate to this. I used to have this problem when I ate a lot of legumes. One thing that helps is preparing them the right way. Cooking vegetables will make them a lot easier to digest. Pairing them with some fat also make them easier to digest.
I would try to pinpoint which ones don’t make you feel your best. Cruciferous veggies are usually high in fiber and harder to digest. Cucumber, zucchini, and greens are a lot of water and are usually easier to digest. If you still find yourself struggling, try taking a digestive enzyme when you know you are going to eat a lot of them. I love NOW Foods Super Enzyme and it has helped when I know my body might need a little more help.
Vegetables aren’t filling
Vegetables have fiber which slow down the digestion process and help keep you full for longer. Some with a lot of fiber are broccoli, Brussels, sweet potatoes, artichokes, squash, carrots, cabbage, and peas, but there are so many more. Some consist of a lot of water, so it depends what kinds you are eating.
Unless you eat a crap ton, they aren’t going to keep you that full (in my personal experience). To help keep you full, pair them with some healthy fat and protein. Fat and protein are both macronutrients that keep you full the longest. Adding them with your vegetables will ensure to help you full.
Vegetables cost too much
I can totally go both ways with this one. Personally I think veggies are very cheap. I remember living in Cali and spending like $35 a week on food for myself when I was a pescatarian. But some people don’t have access to multiple supermarkets in their city and lots of choices.
The best way to save some money is to shop seasonally. Squashes are in season during the fall and winter, so buy them them. Tomatoes are in season during the summer, so buy them then. And winter tomatoes suck in the flavor department ha. Check out this seasonal produce guide, but it also depends on where you live.
You can also buy frozen veggies to save money. A lot of the time they can be cheaper and they are usually picked at the peak of their ripeness for maximum flavor and nutritional benefits. There is nothing wrong with doing what works for you.
Go bad too fast
This totally depends on what veggies you are buying. If you feel like you are wasting food, look for produce that keeps for awhile. I’ve had potatoes and squashes in my pantry for months. Same with cabbage – I can keep it in the fridge for weeks without a problem. Some others include Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, celery, beets, parsnips, turnips…
Buy less of things that go bad (leafy greens) so quickly, or amounts that you know you will use, and more things you know will keep longer. You can always freeze vegetables for future use too.
Too much time to prep
If you don’t like cutting and chopping vegetables, buy them precut. I know they are more expensive, but if it’s going to get you to eat more of them then I think it’s totally worth it. There are a lot of stores that have them already cut so just look for those.
To be honest, we eat a lot of leftovers cold, but I know that is not for everyone. When reheating foods, the best way is usually the way you made it. If you know you are going to reheat them later, slightly undercook them so when you reheat them they don’t get overcooked.
Heating some oil in a pan is a great way to warm and crisp up your veggies. If you can’t do this, then try to prep veggies that you don’t need reheated or you don’t mind eating cold. Save the ones you like nice and hot and crispy for when you are home and have access to a full kitchen.
Getting in veggie ruts
I already touched on this above, but it happens to us all. Try out a new grocery store to find some new ones. An international market is a fun way to look for some new ones.
Or just make it a habit of picking up one new vegetable at the store each week. If you have no idea how to prepare it, just google it. They are million of recipes out there, you will definitely be able to find one you like. Even if you just roast it up with some spices, it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Easy Vegetable Recipes to get you started
Dinner Recipes with Vegetables
Healthy Chicken Pad Thai – made with sweet potato noodles
Whole30 Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo – made with turnip noodles!
Okay! That is it! Questions on ETGveggies – drop them below! Hope you see your veggie creations!
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