New week. New month.
It’s the first Monday in April, and that means it’s time for me to . . .

Real Spring is inching ever closer. (Even here, where it was still below-freezing – but sunny! – yesterday morning.) What better time to talk about . . . vegetables!

Yep. Vegetables.
As in . . . eating more of them.

For years, I had a personal goal of . . . adding more vegetables into our diet/meals. And I failed miserably, year after year. I blame my difficulties on being a child-of-the-60s. Back then, dinner typically consisted of a meat, a starch (usually potatoes in some form), and . . . a bland, tasteless vegetable (usually frozen, but often from a can). It is very hard to get excited about warmed up vegetables from a can, let me tell you. When I became a young-adult-of-the-80s, and responsible for my own dinner menus, I really didn’t do much better. I relied on that deeply embedded childhood pattern. Dinner was . . . a meat, a starch (usually potatoes, but sometimes branching out into the exciting world of rice!), and a bland, tasteless vegetable (never from a can, but usually microwaved instead).

Several years ago, though . . . I finally changed that pattern. I broke the code! I have successfully added more vegetables to our meals. But. It wasn’t easy!

I know that you already know that . . . eating vegetables is GOOD for you. But let’s just do a quick review of WHY: A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar, which can help keep appetite in check.

And you probably know, too, that according to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guideline for Americans, adults in the US “should be” eating 2-3 cups of fruits and vegetables . . . per DAY. For most people I know, that seems like a whole lotta vegetables — and a daunting task. (It was for me.) But I’m here to say . . .if I, the child of meat + potatoes + gross vegetable, can do it, so can you!

So. How did I break the code? How did I add more vegetables into my life?
Here are my best tips . . .

  • My secret weapon is . . . baby spinach. I always keep it on hand, and I throw it (by the handsful) into almost everything I make – whether the recipe calls for it or not. It always enhances. It never detracts. And it’s one of those super healthy dark leafy greens that are not always appealing to eat by themselves. (I even throw it in fruit smoothies. You can’t even tell it’s there.)
  • I use my roasting pan for vegetables all the time. What vegetable ISN’T better when roasted? And it’s super easy to do.
  • I keep bags of chopped frozen vegetables in my freezer to throw into whatever I’m cooking. A handful of peas here, a handful of chopped peppers there . . . they add up! (Trader Joes has a really nice selection of pre-chopped, frozen vegetables.)
  • I started cooking vegetarian recipes (as you’ve seen from my “cookbook unpacking” posts). What’s great about vegetarian recipes . . .  is that they put vegetables front and center. And – remember – you can always add meat to a vegetarian recipe. Or you can serve meat or fish alongside a vegetarian recipe. Initially, I introduced “meatless Mondays” to our weekly dinner plans. Tom and Brian (who was still living at home then) were skeptical . . . and not thrilled about it, but agreed to try. Now, many years later, both of them still eat and enjoy meat, but they also appreciate and enjoy vegetarian meals — and way more often than just on Mondays. (Just sayin.)

If you’d like more tips about how to add vegetables into your life, try these links:

10 Easy Ways to Eat More Vegetables Every Day

How to Eat More Vegetables: 10 Easy Ways to Get More Veggies Every Day

And if you’re wondering just what “a daily serving” of vegetables and fruits looks like, check this link:

How To Get Your Daily Servings of Vegetables and Fruits: A Visual Guide


How about you? If you’re a good veggie eater, what tips would you share with others? And if you’re not a good veggie eater, what might help you incorporate more vegetables into your meals?


April is here.
It’s a great time to start eating more veggies!

Start Your Engines!