9 Ways To Get More Vegetables In Your Diet (And Why You Should)

Whenever someone approaches me for quick and dirty nutrition advice, my standard response is this: just eat a lot of vegetables.

I try never to tell anyone what they should take out of their diet, rather, I prefer to emphasize what to add in. Eating a lot of fresh vegetables each day provides us with countless benefits.

They provide a good amount of dietary fiber, which not only acts as a sort of “cleaning crew” for our digest systems, but also feeds the beneficial bacteria that resides in our guts.

In fact, the Scientific Director of the American Gut Project was quoted as saying that, “the difference in the diversity of the gut microbiome between people who eat a lot of plants and people who don’t eat a lot of plants is greater than the difference between someone who hasn’t recently taken antibiotics and someone who has.”

In other words, people who eat the fewest fruits and vegetables have such poor diversity and amount of their gut bacteria compared to those who eat the most fruits and vegetables, that the effect of eating a low-fiber diet is similar to taking a round of antibiotics. Wow.

Additionally, vegetables are rich in antioxidants which help to improve our overall health, and provide vitamins and minerals such as iron, plant-based calcium, and even small amounts of protein.

Need more convincing? People who eat diets rich in vegetables tend to have lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

How many servings of vegetables should we eat each day?

The recommendations for exactly how many servings of vegetables we should eat each day vary by country, with some being based on three or four 1/2 cup servings each day, and others providing a target of 500 grams (a little over a pound) of veggies per day.

The current US guidelines recommend that you fill half your plate with vegetables at each meal, which is a simple system to follow, and one I use with my clients.

It’s important to include vegetables in your diet each day, and keep in mind that a diverse selection of vegetables will provide a diverse selection of nutrients. Try to mix it up!

Here are 9 ways to add more vegetables into your diet each day:

1. Vegetable smoothies

If you like to start your day with a smoothie for breakfast, a veggie-packed smoothie is an easy and delicious way to make sure you get a serving of vegetables in.

The classic green smoothie is a great way to start, and nope, you can’t taste the spinach if you blend it in. I also love adding frozen cauliflower to my smoothies, like in this Chocolate Black Bean Smoothie.

If you’ve got a good blender (I have this one and I love it!) you can also throw in harder vegetables, like in this Carrot Apple Smoothie with Ginger.

two glasses of carrot apple smoothie on a grey background garnished with apple slices

Try these delicious and healthy veggie-packed smoothies:

Chocolate Black Bean Smoothie
A rich and creamy healthy chocolate smoothie loaded with protein thanks to a secret ingredient that you totally can't taste - beans! 
Check out this recipe
chocolate smoothie with bananas, beans, dates, and cocoa shot overhead on a grey background
Carrot Apple Smoothie with Ginger
A zippy Carrot Apple Smoothie with a touch of ginger and lemon for extra zing. This easy vegan recipe takes just a few minutes to whip up in your blender and will load you up with antioxidants and healthy plant-based fiber. 
Check out this recipe
carrot apple ginger smoothie with a red apple on a grey background
Date Almond Smoothie
This creamy dreamy smoothie is thick and luscious like a milkshake, yet totally plant-based and packed with veggies. Naturally sweetened with frozen banana and dates, nutty and delicious, this is just the thing when you want something sweet but healthy. 
Check out this recipe
two green smoothies with blue straws and a white tea towel in the background

2. Veggie noodles

If you’re looking for a simple and fun way to get more vegetables into your family, consider veggie noodles!

You can pick up a spiralizer (I have this one and it’s just ok) but you can also just a julienne peeler or even just a regular old vegetable peeler to make basic vegetable noodles.

If you think straight up veggie noodles are too much for your family, try mixing them 50/50 with regular pasta to get started! I love making this Warm Zucchini Noodle Salad with Halloumi. It’s one of my favourite quick and easy meals!

warm zucchini noodle salad with halloumi and tomatoes in a blue bowls with herbs and water in the background

Recipe to try:

Warm Zucchini Noodle Salad with Fried Halloumi and Burst Tomatoes
This Warm Zucchini Noodle Salad with fried halloumi and burst tomatoes is a delicious, low-carb, and healthy alternative to a traditional pasta dish. 
Check out this recipe
overhead photo of warm zucchini noodle salad in a blue bowl

3. Salads

Salads are an obvious solution to getting more veggies into your diet, but sometimes they can be kinda boring! Rather than your standard sad limp-lettuce salad, try mixing things up with a kale salad, or making a big platter salad like this Vegetarian Nicoise Salad.

overhead photo of vegetarian niçoise salad on a grey background with a pot of salad dressing to the side

Recipes to try:

Vegetarian Caesar Salad
This Vegetarian Caesar Salad is made with Tuscan kale, healthy vegetarian caesar dressing, and crispy roasted chickpeas. It's an easy Kale Caesar recipe made without anchovies or eggs, and can easily be made vegan.
Check out this recipe
vegetarian caesar salad on a blue plate topped with chickpeas, croutons, and baby tomatoes
Summer Berry Salad with Sesame Baked Goat's Cheese
This Summer Berry Salad is like summer in a salad bowl! Fresh baby greens, juicy ripe berries, avocado, and cucumber are tossed with a homemade vinaigrette, then topped with sesame crusted baked goat's cheese rounds to take things to the next level.
Check out this recipe
summer berry salad on a blue plate with a silver fork, with a wooden salad bowl in the background
Vegetarian Niçoise Salad
This Vegetarian Niçoise Salad is a riff on the traditional recipe, but without any fish! Featuring green beans, potatoes, and eggs, it's an easy and healthy salad that's simplicity at its best. 
Check out this recipe
vegetarian nicoise salad on a wooden platter

3. Veggies and dip

I find that if I have a bunch of fresh vegetables chopped up and ready to snack on, I’m much more likely to munch on them. If you keep them in an air-tight container in the fridge they’ll last for several days.

Try mixing things up with some dips and spreads to make eating veggies more fun!

garlic hummus surrounded by vegetables

Image courtesy of Sustainable Cooks

Recipes to try:

Roasted Cauliflower Hummus Bowls
Roasted Cauliflower Hummus Bowls are perfect for lunch, a snack, or a party platter! Protein-packed hummus is spooned into bowls and topped with roasted cauliflower and toasted pumpkin seeds for a deliciously different meal. 
Check out this recipe
large blue bowl of hummus and roasted cauliflower on a grey background
Addicting Garlic Hummus
Learn how to make the best homemade Garlic Hummus Recipe ever! An easy and healthy vegan and gluten-free snack, garlic hummus is so so addicting!
Check out this recipe
garlic hummus surrounded by vegetables
Smoky Avocado Dip
This incredibly creamy Avocado Yogurt Dip is a veggie tray’s best friend! Healthy and naturally gluten-free, you’ll love how this yogurt dip tastes on salads, veggies, or chips. The lime juice and garlic make this avocado dip extra special.
Check out this recipe

4. Meal bowls

Meal Bowls, Buddha Bowls, Grain Bowls… whatever you want to call them, these meal prep bowls are a great way to add in a ton of veggies. Related: How to Make a Meal Bowl Without a Recipe.

overhead portrait shot of brown rice and winter vegetables in a white bowl with chopsticks and sauce in the background

Recipes to try:

Vegan Sheet-Pan Fajita Bowls
These easy Vegan Sheet-pan Fajita Bowls are sure to be a crowd pleaser! With zucchini, peppers, cauliflower, spicy chickpeas roasted on a sheet pan, and served with a zippy chipotle-lime cashew cream and quick fajita rice, these vegan fajita bowls are a healthy, satisfying, and delicious meal. 
Check out this recipe
a fajita bowl made with chickpeas and vegetables on a grey background with rice, cashews, avocado, and lime
Winter Vegetable Meal Prep Bowls
Winter Vegetable Meal Prep Bowls with brown rice, quick-pickled red cabbage, sweet potato, broccoli, and tofu. 
Check out this recipe
broccoli, sweet potatoes, red cabbage, tofu, and brown rice in a white bowl on a wooden platter
Veggie Burger in a Bowl
Can't decide between a burger and a salad? This Veggie Burger in a Bowl Recipe is the best of both worlds! Made with homemade vegan black bean burgers and layered into a bowl with burger toppings, salad, and a vegan burger sauce, it's the perfect light meal while still packed with plant-based protein.
Check out this recipe
veggie burger bowl drizzled with vegan burger sauce

5. Veggie packed wraps

Making wraps or burritos is one of my favourite ways to do bulk meal prep, and it’s an excellent way to get in extra veggies. Just look at all the veggies in these Black Bean and Quinoa Freezer Burritos! The possibilities are pretty endless, and most definitely delicious.

vegetarian black bean burrito on a piece of foil with foil-wrapped burritos in the background

Recipes to try:

Black Bean and Quinoa Freezer Burritos
Black Bean and Quinoa Freezer Burritos! These make-ahead vegetarian burritos are super easy to make, loaded with beans and veggies, and are freezer-friendly. Perfect for healthy lunch on the go or planning for busy times. 
Check out this recipe
A stacked black bean freezer burrito on a piece of foil
Curried Cauliflower Chickpea Wraps
These Curried Cauliflower Chickpea Wraps are a healthy, spicy make-ahead meal! Easily vegan and gluten-free, made with warming Indian spices, these wraps are freezer-friendly to boot! 
Check out this recipe
curried cauliflower chickpea wraps cut in half with a bowl of filling in the background
Vegetarian Breakfast Burritos
These easy Vegetarian Breakfast Burritos are a healthy, freezer-friendly option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Made in one pan, loaded with veggies, scrambled eggs, and whole wheat tortillas, these are great for meal prep and make-ahead meals.
Check out this recipe
a vegetarian breakfast burrito cut in half on a white plate, with a skillet of breakfast burrito filling to the side

6. Soups and stews

I like to think of soups as warm salads, and in the cooler months they’re my go-to vegetable delivery system! From chunky soups like this Vegan Lentil Soup to a smooth and creamy Spicy Carrot Soup, the possibilities are endless!

two bowls of vegan lentil soup with buttered biscuits and a wooden bowl of parsley

Recipes to try:

Miso Veggie Soup in a Jar
This Miso Veggie Soup is the DIY instant soup recipe you've been waiting for! Just stuff shredded veggies into a jar with miso paste and seasonings, add boiling water, and wait 10 minutes. That's it!
Check out this recipe
miso veggie soup in a weck jar on a grey background
Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup with Red Lentils
This Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup is packed with protein thanks to the addition of red lentils! It's a healthy recipe with warming spices that's easy to make in your Instant Pot, Crockpot, or on the stove top (instructions are included for all three!).
Check out this recipe
Instant Pot Carrot Soup with Garlicky Greens
Velvety smooth Spicy Carrot Soup enriched with tahini and topped with garlicky wilted greens cooked in toasted sesame oil. Naturally vegan and gluten-free, it's a cinch to make in your Instant Pot or on the stove top.
Check out this recipe
overhead shot of carrot soup topped with cooked greens and sprinkled with sesame seeds

7. Frittatas and eggs

Egg dishes are a total blank canvas for adding in veggies! I love making a big batch of Roasted Vegetables and using them up in meal bowls and frittatas. This Roasted Vegetable Frittata is easy and delicious!

two squares of roasted vegetable frittata stacked on a blue plate

Recipes to try: 

Roasted Vegetable Frittata
This Baked Frittata Recipe is made with leftover roasted vegetables, eggs, and goats cheese for an easy and delicious meal. Serve your Roasted Vegetable Frittata warm, cold, or at room temperature for breakfast, brunch, or dinner.
Check out this recipe
roasted vegetable frittata on two blue plates with a silver fork to the side
Vegetarian Frittata with Corn and Tomatoes
A Vegetarian Frittata made with sweet corn, tomatoes, and cheddar for a quick, easy, and healthy meal.
Check out this recipe
vegetarian frittata with corn and tomatoes on a blue and white plate on a grey background
Ricotta and Spinach Egg Bake
Ricotta and Spinach Egg Bake is an easy, protein-packed meal that's perfect for breakfast or dinner. Baked in individual ramekins, this healthy vegetarian dish goes from oven to table in just 15 minutes. 
Check out this recipe
white ramekins with ricotta and spinach egg bake on blue plates with a baguette

7. Stir Fries

Veggie stir fries are a fantastic way to get in a huge load of vegetables and have an easy, tasty dinner. This Pan Fried Broccoli stir-fry is a favourite of mine, as is this Red Curry Coconut Stir Fry.

overhead photo of pan fried broccoli and egg in a blue bowl with chop sticks to the side

Recipes to try:

Pan-Fried Broccoli with Sesame Egg Ribbons
Pan-Fried Broccoli with Sesame Egg Ribbons is a quick, easy, and healthy meal for one. Loaded with vegetables and packed with protein, this dish is gluten-free, paleo, and Whole 30 compliant. 
Check out this recipe
pan fried broccoli in a blue bowl
Red Curry Coconut Stir Fry
A red curry coconut stir-fry loaded with vegetables and tofu. Quick, easy, and nourishing, you can have this simple meal on the table in under 30 minutes. 
Check out this recipe
Red Curry Coconut Stir Fry with Tofu and Veggies // www.heynutritionlady.com

9. Veggie patties and fries

You gotta love getting your veggies in fun forms like french fries and veggie patties! Make up a batch of these Oven Baked Zucchini Fries and dunk away!

A tray of baked zucchini fries with a pot of dip and a squeezed lime

Recipes to try:

Baked Zucchini Fries
These Oven Baked Zucchini Fries are a healthy alternative to deep fried, and they're super easy to make! Nice and crispy on the outside thanks to panko breadcrumbs, these are a tasty, crunchy treat. 
Check out this recipe
A parchment linked baking sheet of baked zucchini fries
Chipotle Black Bean Burgers
Looking for an amazing vegan black bean burger recipe? This is it! These Chipotle Black Bean Burgers are super easy to make, packed with healthy ingredients, and are gluten-free. Full of protein and flavour, this is the only spicy black bean burger recipe you'll ever need!
Check out this recipe
chipotle black bean burger on a blue plate with some potato chips on the side
broccoli quinoa nuggets
Broccoli quinoa nuggets are perfect for little hands to pick up and much on. One or two nuggets is a complete meal for baby, or delicious served alongside a green salad for bigger folk.
Check out this recipe
broccoli quinoa nuggets - tasty little nuggets of goodness perfect for baby led weaning and grownup meals alike! // www.heynutritionlady.com
kamut and zucchini fritters
This recipe will take care of a beast of a zucchini – that one in the photos was just over 1kg. You can of course halve the batch if you’re working with less zucchini or want fewer fritters, but keep in mind they freeze beautifully. Don’t have kamut? Sub in another sturdy whole grain. Wheat berries, spelt berries, farro, and barley are all good options. Makes about 20 fritters.
Check out this recipe
kamut zucchini fritters // the muffin myth

 

 

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