Nutrition
August 4, 2016

6 unexpected ways to enjoy vegetables

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Boost your vegetable intake with these unique ideas.

 

If you or your family members cringe at the sight or thought of vegetables, it’s time to change your taste buds. These non-traditional ideas for baking, peeling, roasting, pureeing, stuffing and ultimately eating a variety of vegetables will have you craving more.

Dare to be different.

Oven-baked buffalo cauliflower bites are a healthier alternative to buffalo chicken wings typically eaten as a party or tailgate appetizer. You can even try making them with broccoli florets and using other sauces such as barbecue or honey mustard sauce for flavor variety. If you still can’t get enough cauliflower, check out these unique recipes for cauliflower pizza crust and cauliflower rice.

Get creative.

Vegetable ribbons are not only tasty and nutritious, but they also are a great way to make vegetables look appetizing. All you need is a vegetable peeler and some vibrant vegetables such as green/yellow zucchini, carrots or cucumbers. Simply use a vegetable peeler to peel the flesh of the vegetable lengthwise. Create your own summer vegetable ribbon salad by using this recipe.

Out with a crunch.

Ditch the bag of potato chips and create your own baked root vegetable chips. These chips are a healthier alternative to fried potato chips and count toward your daily serving of vegetables. Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips and turnips are nutrition powerhouses full of antioxidants, fiber and vitamins.

Pass the “pasta” please.

Instead of cooking traditional pasta noodles, try swapping them for spaghetti squash strands. Spaghetti squash is low in calories and carbohydrates, high in fiber and loaded with potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Slice spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds and use a fork to poke holes in the skin.
  3. Place the flesh side down in a baking dish and add ¼-inch of water. Bake for 40 minutes or until tender.
  4. Once cool enough to touch, use a fork to rake the spaghetti squash and remove the strands.
  5. Top with pasta sauce, lean protein, low-fat cheese and/or other vegetables and bake in the oven until cheese is bubbly.

Spread and savor.

Vegetables, especially when roasted and pureed, make for flavorful, creamy spreads. This roasted vegetable spread recipe is great for spreading on whole wheat crackers or pita bread, or serving as a dip for raw vegetables like sliced bell peppers, zucchini sticks or broccoli/cauliflower florets. Try experimenting with other vegetables such as eggplant or beets to create new flavor combinations.

Stuff ’em.

Santa Fe turkey stuffed peppers are perfect for a zesty Southwest-inspired family dinner. Not only are the filling, but they contain a delicious combination of lean protein, vegetables and spices. Amp up the flavor by adding other types of beans such as pinto or kidney beans, brown rice or quinoa, or other complementary herbs and spices. Leave out the turkey and add a grain in addition to more vegetables for Meatless Monday.

 

Lindsay MacNab, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, health nut and deep dish pizza addict from the wonderful windy city of Chicago. She was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and received both her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Diet & Exercise from Iowa State University. She was a 2015-2016 dietetic intern at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Following her internship, Lindsay aspires to combine her passion for nutrition, writing and health and wellness into a nutrition communications career that she will love for a lifetime.

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