One of my goals for the year is to eat more vegetables. More vegetables? Isn’t that all a vegetarian eats already? I’m going to spoil the secret early – it is just as easy for a vegetarian to eat bad food these days as it is for a non-vegetarian. Would you consider meals of corn dogs, macaroni and cheese, and bean and cheese burritos to be a healthy well-balanced diet? Throw in a few frozen pre-packaged meals for lunch. Sound familiar?

While our diet isn’t typically that bad, it does illustrate that a vegetarian diet is not automatically a health nut’s dream. (Or a doctor’s….) Vegetarians today have a huge variety of convenient “fast-food” type options. I love veggie corn dogs and we have stacks of pre-packaged meals in the freezer. I’m thrilled to have these options! It is also very easy to create meals loaded with grains or legumes and cheese and minimize the vegetables. We have certainly had meals where the only vegetable is the onion in the beans or the tomato sauce on the pasta.

And so my goal this year is to incorporate more vegetables in more of our meals. I started with a variation on veggie fried rice the other night.  Double the vegetables and halve the amount of rice and you have a beautiful, nutrient-packed, delicious meal. I included some swiss chard which is in season this time of year (kale would also work) which is a really tasty way to incorporate some of those vitamin-packed greens.

I’m also keeping more packages of frozen vegetables in the freezer. Numerous studies show that frozen vegetables are better for you than canned…and in some cases better for you than the “fresh” ones in your grocery store. Just about any vegetable tastes great tossed with a bit of olive oil and garlic. Add one other spice from your spice cabinet and now the vegetable is “gourmet”. A few weeks ago, I cooked some frozen green beans and then tossed them with a little butter and thyme. Delicious!

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