When you’re working on losing fat, gaining muscle and maintaining excellent health, it depends on getting the right ratios of protein, fat and carbohydrates. But that’s not all.
Remember the vitamins and minerals you need – their micronutrients support the body systems. Few foods work better for this than veggies. We make it easy for you to eat yours!
It’s been reported that most Americans don’t even eat half the recommended amount of vegetables. This may have to do with how easy (or not) it is to access fresh veggies in season, or how much effort it takes to get creative with them.
But that’s a shame, because vegetables are a boon to your health, fitness and weight loss program. They provide benefits like lowering the risk of disease, making your clean eating diet tastier and more colorful, and providing fiber and water that helps you fill up. Here’s a list of handy tricks you can use to make veggies part of every meal.
Chop in Bulk: If you were to clean, peel, seed, slice and chop all your veggies for the next few days at one time, it really wouldn’t take much longer than making one chopped salad today. Grab extra peppers, carrots, green beans and more to prep at the same time—enough to make your omelet tomorrow and a stir fry the next day. Wash and dry several lettuce leaves, and don’t forget about your mid-day snacks, too…
Eat them Raw: This is a top tip for getting veggies in your diet with little effort, in what is often their most nutritious form: raw and fresh. There are exceptions—for example cooking tomatoes and spinach brings out extra antioxidant levels. But still, raw works to pack plenty of vitamins, minerals and color into your meals, with no added topping or breading needed. Speaking of bread, you can use raw lettuce to wrap your next sandwich. And who doesn’t love veggies and dip? Try our ranch dressing below.
Cook them Quickly: If dragging out the griddle for a side dish or making a vegetarian casserole is not your idea of an easy way to get nutrition, that’s fine. A quick stir fry is one of the healthiest methods of veg preparation, and it takes little more than a bit of coconut oil in a hot pan to get the job done. Especially when they’re pre-chopped and ready to go. A high heat saute also a good way to make it easier for vegetables to digest to reduce bloating and gas. And a bit of healthy fat helps you absorb the nutrients.
Use them as a Topping: You know how mushrooms and onions taste good on top of steak? Take that idea and apply it to all the protein and veggie combinations you can think of. Raw mixes get you a delicious salsa for on top of fish or chicken, and a quick sauté lets you smother steak and pork with nutrition without adding many calories.
Make soup: Check out these ideas for healthy soups you can make quickly in this January 2016 edition of The Xsport Life. And if you’re eating soup with a salad, here’s a clean eating ranch dressing recipe you’ll love.
Creamy Yogurt Ranch Dressing
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- Juice from small wedge of fresh lemon
Whisk all ingredients in a bowl, cover, and chill for an hour in the refrigerator. Makes about 1 cup of dressing.