We all have a fork… and with it, the power to make healthier decisions every time we eat. It sounds simple, right? But where to begin? Should you go paleo or gluten free? Make like that one friend on Facebook and eat only plants? Put kelp in your smoothie?
Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated, and you don’t have to completely overhaul your diet to feel a difference. Even small changes sustained over a long period can have a big impact on your overall wellbeing.
We’re sharing a few simple things you can do at home to ‘put your best fork forward.’ Choose just one or two things you think are realistic for you and your lifestyle, and give them a try!
Our first suggestion…. Eat more vegetables by sneaking them into your meals. Try these sneaky veggies and you (and the picky eaters in your family) will hardly even notice they’re there.
1. Mix sautéed vegetables with a jar of pasta sauce for an easy (but more flavorful and nutritious!) pasta dinner.
2. If you’re making meat sauce, try replacing half the ground beef with mushrooms.
3. Add spinach to…anything! Think soup, stew, pasta, smoothies, sauces, or even baked goods. It’ll cook down so small you’ll barely notice it. If you’re having spaghetti or casserole for dinner, put a layer of spinach in your bowl or plate before serving the main dish.
4. Add peppers, spinach, onion, mushrooms, and/or tomatoes to scrambled eggs.
5. Make a stir fry out of almost any meal! If chicken is on the menu, slice it and sauté with chopped vegetables.
6. Put sliced cucumber on your sandwich for an awesome crunch (it’s like adding chips, but healthy!).
7. Add grated zucchini or carrots to burgers, meatloaf, taco meat, or meatballs.
8. Puree bell peppers, winter squash, carrots, or cauliflower to add into potatoes, casseroles, soups, or any saucy dish like lasagna or mac and cheese.
9. Add vegetables to rice, couscous, barley, quinoa, etc. to make a pilaf-like side dish.
10. When you’re cutting up vegetables, prep a little more than you need and keep the leftovers in a container in the fridge. That way they’re easy to toss in anything the next time you’re cooking! (Even better- put the ready-to-go veggies at eye-level in the fridge so they’re easy to grab as a snack!)
Meghan Perkins is Project Angel Heart’s registered dietitian. After a semester studying baking and pastry arts at culinary school, Meghan quickly found her passion for clinical nutrition and transferred to the University of Northern Colorado to earn her bachelor’s degree in dietetics. Meghan has worked in clinical and private practice settings, educating patients about how their food choices impact their health with an emphasis on CKD, diabetes, heart disease, celiac disease, and weight management. In her free time, Meghan enjoys exploring Denver by bike with her husband, trying new coffee and tea shops, hiking in Crested Butte, and relaxing with her dog Barney.