I tried to be cool in high school. I really did. I cared a lot about my hair, makeup, and whether or not it was obvious that my Mom made me shop at Marshalls instead of Abercombie. All said and done, I’d say that my coolness factor was average. But some of my nerdy tendencies just couldn’t be reined in. For instance, the idea of being late stressed me out so much that I would book it to every class, get there before any of my classmates, and read… or play snake on my Nokia. Fast-forward 15 years and the nerdiness prevails. I’ve been known to show up early to dinner dates just so that I have some extra reading time in the comfort of my Honda CRV. And to make matters worse, I’m usually reading a combination of books on nutrition, self help, or the latest and greatest diet. Yeah, those books that most people steer clear of. Those are my jam. And after all of my dome-light reading sessions, I could talk at you for hours about intermittent fasting, keto, paleo, whole30, veganism, plant-based, yada yada. But I’ll save you all the trouble and give you the one piece of information that all of these books have in common.
EAT MORE VEGETABLES.
Are you hearing echos of your mother singing I told you so? Sorry. But it’s true. All of these sexy diets and lifestyles have one thing in common, and that’s to eat your veggies. Sure, you won’t find the authors gushing on the back cover about all the vegetables that you’ll get to eat and you won’t hear fellow mom’s at the playground talking about all the new greens that they’ve discovered after starting insert diet here. But it really is the magic bullet behind all the fancy marketing and advertising that goes into the books, programs, workout videos, etc.
In short, people should be losing their shit over veggies. Why?
They help to build a strong immune system as we head into cold and flu season.
They keep your skin to look bright and hydrated
They keep you fuller for longer
They can be added to all of your meals, guilt free!
They provide hormone equilibrium (read less cravings, happier mommy)
Eating more vegetables is better for the environment (if you’re into that kind of thing… and why wouldn’t you be?)
And last but not least, eating more vegetables can lead to more confidence when wearing mom jeans, blush tops, your favorite pair of TOMS, cozy fall scarves, the notorious mom bun, and fanny packs.
Here’s a list of the vegetables that I buy on a weekly basis in order for our family of four to have two heaping piles of veggies at lunch and dinner.
WARNING: Do not go to the grocery store and buy everything that I’m about to share. Because it will not get eaten. It will rot. Your fridge will smell like a compost. Instead, buy one more of your favorite veggie and add one more serving to your plate each day. Small steps, my friend.
Four heads of broccoli - I know that this four bags seems aggressive, but it’s one of those foods that we (I) eat at every meal. That’s right… steamed broccoli (with eggs and sweet potato) for breakfast. I can’t tell you how helpful this has been to nip those sugar cravings in the bud.
Six zucchini - These are used for zoodles (zucchini noodles) or in a quick saute with mushrooms, organic butter, and some Everything But The Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s.
One bag of sugar snap peas - This is a go to afternoon snack with the kids. They have fun dissecting the peas from the pod while I can eat as many as I want without any guilt.
One 32 oz bag of frozen peas - This is a super easy side for both kiddos and in the summer months they’ll eat them frozen as a refreshing snack.
One bag of full sized carrots - The regular sized carrots taste better and don’t get that slimy film that baby carrots tend to get after a few days. Plus the kids think that chomping on “huge carrots” is super silly.
One bag of celery for ants on a log... an oldie but a goodie. And those of you who are unfamiliar, just spread some nut butter on the top of celery stick and add some raisins (ants) for a fun treat. It’s still good 30 years later.
Three cucumbers - Peel, slice, snack.
One container of spinach - I use the majority in smoothies, but some are saved for meals.
One head of cauliflower - This is such a simple vegetable to roast or steam and the kids love the mild flavor.
Two 8 oz containers of mushrooms - I know that a lot of people aren’t fans, but this is such a versatile vegetable. And try different varieties if you’ve had failed past attempts.
One bag of mini bell peppers - Don’t underestimate these little nuggets of glory. Toss them in some olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. No cutting, chopping, or de-seeding! They come out juicy, sweet, and full of flavor.
One bag of green beans - These are excellent steamed or roasted with garlic.
Two frozen bags of edamame - It’s hard to come across a quick and warm vegetable to eat during those cold winter months, but edamame hits the spot!
Four to Five sweet potatoes for sides, sauces, curries, and even breakfasts. This is my main carbohydrate these days and I la la la love it.
I hope that you found this list helpful, or inspirational at the least. Wherever you’re at, just know that changing any aspect of your lifestyle takes time. Be open, experiment, and be patient.