Eat your veggies. I know this. But for me, it just required a little creativity. However, I learned that saying it and doing it was easy!
I Ate What My Mom Cooked!
My diet when I was growing up basically consisted of greens or legumes (black-eyed peas or lima beans) seasoned with ham hocks or smoked pork neck bones. That’s how my mother cooked. That’s what my mother cooked. And that’s what we ate. My mother let it be known that if we didn’t like what was on the stove, we were welcome to go out and try to find our own food. Or? We could hold out until we got hungry enough to eat it!!
Most of the time I was hungry enough!
But looking back, when I think about it, had my mother simply not added that one ingredient – the meat for seasoning – we could have been an almost vegetarian family. I say almost because of course for Christmas and Thanksgiving there was always turkey. For Easter, there was a ham. And for most of our Sunday dinners, there was fried chicken. Occasionally during the week we might have smothered pork chops or smothered liver.
I was blessed to receive government grant money which paid for my tuition and books, my dorm room, and my meals at the university cafeteria. It was in the cafeteria that I learned that it was perfectly normal to eat a large bowl of salad for lunch! A large bowl? Loaded with veggies? Really? My mom never served us a big bowl of salad!
Plant-Based Foods and Meatless Mondays
Nowadays plant-based food and meatless meals are all the rage. On Twitter, they circulate lots of recipes and meal ideas and hashtag them #MeatlessMonday. Not only are we treating our bodies well but we’re saving the planet too!
Life events actually forced me to completely change my dietary and eating habits. My late husband was diagnosed with heart disease. Consequently, when making out the grocery list beef and pork was no longer on the list. And we started adding more veggies to our meals. It wasn’t a difficult adjustment to make actually. Lots of times when I was at the grocery store there were certain veggies that I wanted to try. But we had a budget. By the time I finished buying all of the other foods on the list, there was no more money left for trying those veggies. But what do you know? Not buying beef or pork freed up $30 to $35. Now I had the money to buy zucchini, swiss chard, bok choy, cauliflower and lots of other fresh vegetables.
Cooking Tasty Veggie Dishes is Not That Hard
Now my only challenge was how to cook them and make the veggies tasty and not boring. TV cooking shows, food blogs, and Twitter to the rescue! There is no shortage of veggie recipes on the Internet. In fact, if you can find an Indian TV cooking show or YouTube video to watch, an Indian food blogger or an Indian food Twitter account to follow, you can learn all kinds of ways to prepare your veggies as a side dish or as the main meal. The spices they use to add flavor are amazing!!
However, if you’re not an adventurous cook and you just want a no-fuss way to cook and eat your veggies here is a way that is quick and easy.
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Chop up some veggies. What kind of veggies? Whatever you want. Pattypan squash (or any other squash), peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, eggplant, etc. Season with fresh herbs like basil, parsley, oregano – whatever herbs you like. Add chopped garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss them in some olive oil. Mix all your ingredients, wrap in foil on a baking dish. Bake at 350 F for about 40 minutes. You can drizzle the roasted vegetables with your favorite balsamic reduction or not! You can serve over rice, quinoa, crusty bread, etc. or just eat them!
Most dietary experts say that you should eat 5 cups of fruits and veggies per day. Most people don’t have problems finding fruit to eat. We like fruit. It’s sweet! But when it comes to the veggies? We know it’s good for us. But we have to get creative.