Since having my second child, I've had trouble finding the time to prepare and cook wholesome meals for our family. Most of the time, we're eating a short meal.
Takeout is served on some nights. Pasta is served some nights. This means that they don't all have to be fresh, local, and/or organic (if those things are extremely important to you, go for it, but it's not required).
Including vegetables in your diet is more crucial than concentrating on eating "exactly," even if that occasionally necessitates depending on convenience. I'm sure I'm not the only one who needs quick dinners that include contain vegetables, so hopefully these suggestions can be of use to you.
- Eliminate chopping
Although not all vegetables will work in this way, many are already prepared. Think baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, and baby carrots.
Your vegetables don't need to be prepared, so you can spend less time in the kitchen whether you're grabbing them for a fast snack or adding them to meals like Spinach-Mushroom Frittata or 20-Minute Cherry Tomato & Garlic Pasta.
Other pre-chopped vegetables, such as broccoli, butternut squash, and cauliflower, reduce the amount of chopping but frequently come at a premium price.
- Select frozen and canned items.
Choose frozen and canned vegetables if you want convenience without spending more money. Contrary to popular belief, canned and frozen vegetables are equally as nutrient-dense as fresh vegetables. Vegetables that are frozen are harvested at their ripest and quickly frozen. You might be concerned about the extra sodium that is frequently found in canned vegetables, but many manufacturers now offer low-sodium options. The benefits of frozen and canned vegetables are their long shelf work, low time, little preparation requirements, and versatility in a wide range of recipes. Peas, corn, and broccoli are my top three frozen food choices.
- Snack more wisely
Even with my best efforts, some lunches and dinners still don't have enough vegetables. It's alright. I try to make sure I include some vegetables for snacks on days when time is extremely limited—my spouse is working late, I have a really hectic work day, or school is closed. I frequently eat cheese and crackers, yogurt and granola, energy bars, nuts and fruit, and yogurt and yogurt. I have to deliberately remember myself to pick vegetables. Don't knock it until you try it: carrots and peanut butter, cucumber or bell pepper slices with hummus, and a cup of vegetable soup all make delicious snacks and help me increase my daily consumption of vegetables.
- Utilize your slow cooker
I frequently picture enormous pieces of beef simmering in the slow cooker until they are soft. But lately, I've been using our slow cooker to prepare more dishes that feature vegetables. While the nights are hectic with two young children, I frequently find a brief window of time earlier in the day to chop some vegetables and toss them in my slow cooker.
These tasty Slow Cooker Southwest Quinoa Bowls have peppers, onions, tomatoes, and corn. I've been getting tons of inspiration from these simple vegetarian slow-cooker dishes to eat more vegetables every night. (If you're more of an Instant Pot devotee, you could find some inspiration in these healthy vegetarian dishes.)
- Use store-bought sauces
You must enjoy eating vegetables in order to do so. I currently rely on pre-made marinades, dressings, and sauces because I don't have the time to make my own.
Using stir-fry sauces for quick meals, using a salad kit that includes tasty toppings and dressing (here are 10 faves from Trader Joe's), or relying on pesto to liven up roasted vegetables are all examples of this.