Watch my video above to see What I Ate in a WEEK as a VEGAN and my TIPS on how to eat more vegetables…
Some people might think that as a vegan, all I eat are vegetables. You couldn’t be more mistaken. I, like many other people, have to actively try and eat lots of vegetables. Quite often, I find myself simply forgetting to eat lots of veggies and thinking “I probably should eat more vegetables”. How is this possible?! It might be because NOT EVERYTHING THAT IS NOT AN ANIMAL PRODUCT IS A VEGETABLE.
I definitely eat lots of rice, beans, tofu and noodles on a regular basis and I probably do eat more vegetables than the average person. However, I feel like with veggies (especially leafy greens), more is ALWAYS better. So I’ve been really consciously trying to #eatmoreveggies and just remind myself of this on a daily basis.
The video above shows what I ate in a week when I am trying to eat more vegetables and some of the tips that I’ve personally been following in order to eat more. Eating healthy takes conscious effort especially in a day and age where junk food and unhealthy eating is EVERYWHERE. Human beings are constantly surrounded by unhealthy choices and it’s become more normal than ever to eat bad foods (even if you are vegan!). So I think being mindful of your choices is the KEY to being a healthy eater.
Here are some of my TOP TIPS for incorporating more VEGETABLES into your life.
1. Pack lots of veggies into wraps and sandwiches
It’s so much more fun and satisfying to bite into a sandwich or wrap that is PACKED full of fresh veggies… isn’t it? The beauty of this is that most people already love eating sandwiches or wraps so adding in extra veggies doesn’t really seem like you’re doing a whole lot more to eat more veggies. You’re just making your wrap/sandwich fatter and more interesting… it’s a win win!
(or you can pack them into sushi or kimbap too! My favourite…)
Hummus & Avocado wrap from my vegan cafe (saVeg Cafe in Calgary, Alberta)
2. Blend, blend, blend!
I’m sure it would be super healthy for us to eat a giant salad full of leafy greens and other delicious vegetables every single day, but sometimes we don’t have such chewing power… or the motivation (or time!) to eat a gigantic salad. This is where GREEN SMOOTHIES come in. This is a wonderful way to pack in more veggies (especially leafy greens) into your day without feeling like you’ve had any. My favourite green to add into smoothies is spinach – mainly because the taste is so mild that it can be very easily masked with everything else you add in your smoothie.
But lately, as you’ll see in the video above, I’ve been really enjoying making SUPER SIMPLE smoothies such as TOMATO SMOOTHIES (although people are telling me tomato is a fruit – I still classify them as somewhat of a vegetable…). This sounds super weird, but just blend together some tomato, ice and a little maple syrup for sweetness…and there you have a super refreshing, slightly sweet and delicious smoothie! It’s definitely not a meal but a wonderful snack. Tomatoes are super good for you and an excellent source of so many vitamins.
3. Add veggies into stir fries
Seriously, need I say more? Veggie stir fry is one of my favourite ways of eating more veggies.
4. Prepare smoothie bags filled with greens and fruit
As mentioned earlier, blending your veggies is a wonderful way of getting in more greens and goodness. However, some of us are so rushed in the morning that we don’t really think about making a super healthy smoothie! So one way that you can save time is to make smoothie bags that you can freeze in advance. Add your favourite greens, fruit and other goodness into a zip lock bag, freeze them and when you’re ready to make your smoothie, just add those contents into a blender with some water or non-dairy milk (or any other liquid of your choice) and blend away.
5. Buy “ready-to-eat” and prepared vegetables
Sometimes, in order for us to make the right choices, we need to take the easy way. Most of us know ourselves by now (assuming you’re over the age of like 15) and we know our pattern of behaviour quite well. We probably know by now that we are not the type to get up at 5am to go for a jog, then cut up all your veggies to make a green juice before heading off to work on your bicycle (by the way, if you are one of these people, how and wow). We probably also know that we are about a thousand times more likely to eat more vegetables if it is readily and conveniently available to us.
(sandwich I made from ready-to-eat greens and alfalfa sprouts)
I agree that this isn’t the most environmentally friendly tip. However, if we truly know that this is one of the only ways that we will eat more veggies then it might be worth having a bit more convenience. Take this with a grain of salt and if you can, try to make more environmental choices in your life by reducing your impact in other aspects of your life (follow tip #9 instead if you want to be more environmentally friendly).
6. Mix your veggies with other delicious foods you love and enjoy
This goes hand-in-hand with stir fries and smoothies, but this tip can go with really anything. You don’t have to have a stir fry, but you could just chuck in vegetables into pretty much whatever dish you love and enjoy. I try to make a conscious effort to just add more veggies into whatever it is I’m eating. After all, eating a green salad to me is very boring. But if I have it with rice, some tofu or lentils, and a delicious sauce, I now have a rice bowl with lots of veggies. I’ll enjoy it a thousand times more than just a green salad. Plus, it’ll be more filling.
Vegan “tuna” poke bowl with avocado (pictured above) is from my vegan cafe – saVeg Cafe.
Above is the “fresh veggie bibimbap” from my vegan cafe (visit saVeg cafe)
7. When in doubt, fill 50% of your plate with veggies
This is a great rule of thumb! Just pack your plate with veggies. So easy, so simple.
8. Delicious dressings, sauces and dips are your best friend
Don’t go too crazy with fattening or sweet dressings and sauces – but a little bit of dressing/sauce/dip can really make a HUGE difference in your ability to enjoy vegetables. Have some dressing and sauces ready to eat in your fridge at all times.
Recipe for one of my favourite tahini dressings here
9. Prepare your veggies in bulk so they are ready-to-eat
When I buy veggies that need to be prepared, quite often, they sit in my fridge for a long time before I finally get the motivation to chop and/or cook them. It takes a LOT of motivation, let me tell you.
If you’re anything like me and you hate the process of washing, chopping and cooking vegetables (follow tip #5 if you’re ultra lazy) – why not just do this ONCE and not four times? Just make all of your veggies in bulk… for instance, if I have a big thing of broccoli, I can wash it, chop them into bite-sized pieces then steam them all at once (yes, this will take a little longer than making only one portion but it will save you prep and cleaning time in the future). That way, you can leave those prepared veggies as leftovers in the fridge and just eat them throughout the week.
This is easier than a full meal prep and great for people who still like versatility in their diet (and not have the same meals throughout the week).
10. Meal or food prep
If you want to take tip #9 to the next step, you can actually prep entire meals in advance so you have a healthy and veggie-rich meal ready to go! I have tons of meal prep videos on my channel… let’s start you off with my most recent video where I did a “one hour meal prep challenge” to see if I could make a FULL WEEK worth of food in ONE HOUR.
Watch the video: