How to get out of a veggie rut

I’m curious…Eat your veggies!

How do you really feel about veggies?

Do you love them, or are they something you think you should be eating so you try to fit them in when you can?

Do you really enjoy that salad you eat for lunch every day, or are you secretly wishing you could steal your co-worker’s burger and fries?

Do you equate vegetable-based meals with being deprived and unfulfilled?

Here’s the thing, I know you don’t need another reason to eat your vegetables. I know you’re well aware of all the wonderful health benefits of kale and green juice. And, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you sure as heck know that veggies do a body good and that you could likely benefit from eating more of them.

Besides, if you’ve been hanging around here with me long enough, I’m sure you already know that I’m all about a vegetable-centric approach to eating (not to be confused with veganism or vegetarianism), and that vegetable-centric eating is the very first tip I talk about in my FREE Hip, Healthy & Holistic Makeover Guide. You can grab it here if you haven’t already.

So often I hear people say, “I know what I need to do, I’m just not doing it”.

Can you relate?

If so, have you ever stopped and asked yourself why you’re not doing what you know you should be doing?

Is it really that you don’t have enough time, or is it because you find vegetables boring, or as mentioned previously, like you’re somehow depriving yourself of something more delicious by eating them?

It all comes down to perception.

What’s your impression of a salad? Does it look like lifeless iceberg lettuce topped with a few pitiful pieces of tomato and cucumber, and topped with store-bought dressing?

What’s your idea of adding more vegetables to your meals? Does it look like a handful of baby carrots alongside your sandwich, or celery sticks when you feel like switching things up?

Let me tell you this is NOT what I have in mind for you when I’m encouraging you to eat more vegetables!

In fact, if this is your idea then please know that you’re seriously depriving yourself of the beauty, simplicity, freshness, and deliciousness of the cornucopia of produce that’s available to you right now.

See one of the not-so-secret (but often overlooked) keys to any long-term successful health or weight-loss plan is…pleasure. You’ve got to LOVE what you’re eating in order to stick with it over the long haul.

Perhaps you’re just starting out and don’t foresee sharing my enthusiasm for veggies anytime soon. Trust me on this, overtime as you start to move towards more of the fresh stuff and less of the overly processed denatured stuff, your palette will begin to transform and you will  naturally begin to gravitate towards, and even desire, fresh and simple ingredients.

If you’re serious about making healthy eating a permanent lifestyle – one that you can really get excited about living for the rest of your life – be sure to incorporate my tips below for shaking things up when it comes to getting in more of the good stuff!

3 Tips for getting out of a Veggie Rut

1) Replicate/Substitute

Put your creative hat on! Think about taking common dishes and snacks like pasta, sandwiches, tortilla wraps and crackers, and replicating them by substituting vegetables for the grain component.

For example, instead of your regular wheat pasta try creating noodles with zucchini or yellow summer squash, or, opt for baked spaghetti squash when a pasta craving hits.

Check out my zucchini pasta I had the other night. I just used a basic julienne peeler to peel a large zucchini; however, if you plan on making large amounts you might even consider investing in a spiralizer for your kitchen. Although it’s not mandatory.

zucchini pasta

Oftentimes when a pasta craving hits, it’s not even the pasta we necessarily desire but the tomato sauce and/or the cheese that goes on top. Sometimes I’ll just steam some cut-up chunks of zucchini, broccoli florets, or a bunch of spinach and top it with my favorite marinara sauce and a little goat’s milk cheese or grated Pecorino Romano (sheep’s milk cheese) and call it a day!

For spaghetti squash pasta you just cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, and bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes at 350 F, or follow the directions which are often stickered on the squash itself. When it’s ready, and after you let cool a bit, you simply scrape the squash with a fork and you’re left with beautiful long pasta-like strands which you can then top with your favorite sauce and/or any other ingredients you desire.

When it comes to sandwiches, wraps, and crackers, consider substituting Nori (seaweed) sheets or leaves of Romaine lettuce, collard greens or cabbage to wrap up your favorite fillings and/or scoop up your favorite dip.

Nori Avocado Rolls

2) Presentation

You can completely change the look, taste and texture of a dish by cutting your vegetables into different sizes and shapes. Consider slicing your cucumber into rounds rather than sticks, shredding your cabbage and carrots with a box grater or mandolin to make a fresh slaw, or finely slicing your Romaine into fine ribbon-like strips to change the texture of your salad. Instead of chopping your vegetables into regular bite size pieces try julienning them into thin strips, or use a vegetable peeler to create larger ribbon-like strips.

Keep things fresh and exciting by switching things up now and then!

3) Sauces, Dressings, Dips, etc

You’re sooo much more likely to enjoy your veggies when you have a great tasting dip to go along with them. Same goes for salads. When you know how to dress them deliciously, you’ll not only want to eat more salad, but yes, you’ll even begin to look forward to eating them too. I can definitely attest to this, as can many of my clients!

Get creative with herbs both fresh and dried, spices, sea salt, garlic, grated ginger, and fresh lemon and lime juice to enhance the flavor of any veggie-dish.

Here are a few recipes to get you started. Be sure to check out this post to find out the winning “equation” for the perfect salad dressing, along with some other recipes not noted here.

Creamy Avocado & Tomato Sauce – ( On my zucchini pasta pictured above)

Ingredients:

  • 1 vine-ripened tomato
  • 1/2 avocado
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • pinch of dried basil
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of chili flakes (optional)

Method: Pulse for 15-20 seconds in a high-speed blender

Chunky Cucumber & Avocado Dip 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 of an English cucumber
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1-2 tbsp of chopped red or white onion
  • small piece of red bell pepper (optional)
  • Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Stevia to taste (optional)

Method: Pulse for 15-20 seconds in a high speed blender. Mixture should be chunky.

I like using this dip in various ways – wrapped up in a nori handroll or spread into a salad (both pictured below), or just as a straight dip. It also tastes great spread onto a piece of sprouted grain toast. Yum!

Chunky Cucumber & Avocado Dip

Basic Dressing (Sweet and simple, yet tastes amazing. My personal “go-to”)

Mix together:

  • Juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon
  • Stevia (to taste)
  • Sea salt (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp of EVO (optional)

 

In the comments below, let me know your favorite ways for getting creative in the kitchen with vegetables. Can’t wait to hear from you!

xo Elaine

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7 thoughts on “How to get out of a veggie rut

  1. That zucchini pasta looks amazing! I am going to give it a shot on the weekend. Totally agree that sometimes it is just the sauce I crave, not the pasta! Did you bake the zucchini or is it raw?

    • Hi Ruth!
      Both the zucchini and the sauce are raw, however, you could steam the zucchini “noodles” if you wanted. Let me know how it goes!

  2. Pingback: Exactly what I eat | Elaine Brisebois | Nutritionist

  3. What a wonderful article. I love exploring new ways to incorporate veggies in my diet. You are right that it is sometimes the filling or the topping we crave and not the pasta or bread. I thought I loved sandwiches, but it is really the ability to pick up all of the filling by hand. A collard wrap allows me to do just that. I love raw zucchini spirals in a salad. Must try it with pasta sauce!

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