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Because it’s strange and beautiful and hot, people from everywhere converge on Florida and they bring their cuisine and their traditions with them. The Zest celebrates the intersection of food and communities in the Sunshine State.

Hacks To Help You Eat More Veggies

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Vegetables are one of the best things we can eat: They’re chock-full of nutrients, they’re low in calories, they can reduce our risk of heart diseases and cancers. So we know WHY we should eat more veggies. This episode is all about HOW.

THE ZEST PODCAST: Listen To The Episode

Vegetables are one of the best things we can eat: They’re chock-full of nutrients, they’re low in calories, they can reduce our risk of heart diseases and cancers. So we know WHY we should eat more veggies. This episode is all about HOW.

Today we hear from Carol Leffler and Anne Yasalonis of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, better known as UF/IFAS. IFAS has county extension offices across the state, and they’re a great resource for learning how to grow and cook healthy foods.

In this conversation, you’ll learn meal prep tips and even gardening hacks to help you eat—and actually enjoy—more vegetables. We also discuss how to get kids on board with eating veggies and how to never throw away another bag of soggy salad greens.

Here are some key takeaways:

Get yourself to eat more veggies.

  • For variety and freshness, eat what’s in season.
  • Try a vegetable you’ve never had before.
  • Make a flexible meal plan. Keep a well-stocked pantry so you have more options for how to prepare your veggies.
  • Use a slow cooker or pressure cooker to make preparing healthy meals more convenient.
  • Add edible garnish to make every meal look and feel special.
  • Figure out how you prefer your veggies prepared. For instance, broccoli can be eaten raw, steamed or roasted.
  • Add herbs to water or lemonade.
  • Make a side salad.
  • For quick meals, keep canned beans on hand.
  • Cook enough for two meals.
  • Order groceries online to avoid impulse buys. Remember to include healthy snack items.

Get your kids to eat more veggies.

  • Model the behavior that you want to see.
  • Offer a variety of veggies from a young age.
  • When grocery shopping, let kids choose a new vegetable to try. Eat it together.
  • Make veggie pizza.
  • Make a colorful veggie rainbow.
  • Serve fun-to-eat veggies at snacktime, such as raw peas that kids can open with their fingers.
  • Have a popcorn picnic. Make a kid-friendly charcuterie board with fruits, veggies and air-popped popcorn.
  • Encourage kids to cook and garden with you, so they’ll feel ownership over their food.
  • If you plant a garden, let the kids pick out some seeds to plant.
  • Encourage kids to experiment with food.
  • Incorporate foods kids don’t prefer into foods they do prefer. For example, add pureed carrots to spaghetti sauce.
  • Create a family culture that links vegetables with pleasant memories, such as snapping beans together on the porch.

Reduce food waste.

  • Keep vegetables where you can see them in the fridge or on the counter. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Stalks become stocks. Turn celery stalks and other castoffs into soup stocks, which you can use immediately or freeze in ice cube trays to use a little at a time.
  • Use your imagination. Hold an at-home competition to incorporate leftover veggies into new dishes.
  • Add leftover raw veggies to soups or smoothies.
  • Experiment with salads. Include veggies that are traditionally eaten cooked, such as raw collards or mustard greens.
  • Plant a garden. Harvest just enough veggies for one meal.
  • If you absolutely can’t think of a way to use something, then add it to a compost pile.

For more veggie inspiration, check out these past episodes:

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