By now, you’ve heard that DASH Diet is voted one of the best diet plan to follow. I’m talking lifestyle here. For life.
Just about any sensible diet plan, that’s supported by science, will be recommending you add more vegetables to your diet.
You know you are supposed to be eating more vegetables, but you don’t think you like them. Consider this: Many people have never had a vegetable dish they really like because they’ve never had a delicious vegetable dish to try! It has a lot to do with both the cooking method, and the prep. How are the vegetables cut? How are they combined? What sort of flavors are added to them? How are they cooked?
If you are used to eating bland, steamed or boiled vegetables, set a goal to try cooking some on your own, and try a wider variety this year. They can really taste great with the right prep and cooking method. Even an inexperienced cook can excel.
Asparagus is an easy vegetable to prepare. Try these three easy ways to cook them:
- Heat grill. Rinse asparagus, and using your hand, break off the end (where it breaks naturally). Place asparagus on a plate and drizzle with olive oil and add a pinch of salt. Place onto grill pan on hot grill, and cook for about 5 minutes. You’ll want them to be “crisp-tender” meaning they will be tender, but still have firmness to them.
- Steam. Put a large pan on the stove, add about 2/3 cup water and heat to boil. Add cleaned asparagus to pan, cover and simmer for 6-7 minutes. Remove to platter immediately, add 2-3 teaspoons olive oil, and squeeze half a lemon over.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Clean asparagus and place onto cookie sheet sprayed with olive oil. Drizzle with1 tablespoon olive oil, add 2 garlic cloves to pan, and toss all in oil. Roast for 20 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender.
Swiss Chard and Spinach (and yes, Kale) are both full of Vitamin C and folic acid. These greens are so easy to cook. Simply prep by chopping off stems and rinsing well in a colander to remove dirt or grit (or you can purchase the pre-washed bags of greens). Five to six cups of raw greens will cook down quickly to about 2 cups.
- Heat 1 TB olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add 1 clove minced garlic and chopped greens, and stir quickly until greens are wilted, reducing heat if needed. Enjoy as a side dish or add to an omelet.
- Try my roasted cauliflower and kale.
- Saute the greens as above in #1, transfer to plate, quickly add chopped nuts (walnuts or pine nuts) to hot pan over medium-low heat, saute for a minute, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon sugar and toss to coat, stir 1 minute. Add nuts to greens and serve.
Finally, a simple tossed salad can be eaten daily, upping your veggie intake.
- Using pre-packaged greens can be a big time save but don’t stop at the greens. Add yellow tomatoes, chopped cucumber, sliced grapes, sliced strawberries, orange sections, chopped nuts (or the toasted nuts as above), slices of avocado, olives, cottage cheese, sunflower seeds, or canned (rinsed) beans.
- Make your own simple dressing – try 1/4 olive oil, 2 TB raspberry vinegar (or balsamic), 2 teaspoons honey (or mustard, or both), pinch of salt and pepper. Mix until combined, drizzle over salad.
If one of your 2017 goals is to use the DASH Diet plan, then you’ll need to increase your vegetable and fruit intake. By all means, make them tasty! Try our DASH Diet recipes and tips found in our cookbook and cheat sheets.
Note: Adding vegetables to your diet is important, so while these examples use fresh produce, it’s still okay to eat canned or frozen vegetables! Canned beans, tomatoes, even corn, can really come in handy when you’re short on time. Look for water-packed, and low sodium canned vegetables. Rinse beans to remove some of the sodium (black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, white beans, kidney beans – all great inexpensive sources of fiber and protein).