Eat Your Veggies!
First (well I guess this is second after the shout-out), totally off topic... but I felt a little like Beth of SUAR when facebook came up with Dean Karnazes as a friend suggestion. It suggested Ryan Hall a few weeks ago. I wonder what some of these Endurance Celebs think when they get a friend request? Do they assume they just forgot your name?
Anyhow, continuing with my topic of the day - VEGGIES. You love them, right? Well, if you're like me, you hated them as a child. I was the world's pickiest eater. Seriously, just ask my mother. She said as a baby, I would only eat the dessert baby foods. Well, duh! I pretty much hated all veggies except green beans and corn, and maybe the occassional broccoli if it was smothered in cheese. I hated onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, mushrooms, olives, brussel sprouts, spinach, lima beans, and peas. I wasn't fond of carrots, especially when cooked. And I wouldn't dare try anything like kale, zucchini, eggplant, or squash. Being the sweet daughter that I was, my mom often got out a second pan and made a meal just for me.
Fortunately as part of trying to eat healthier, I realized that I was going to have to find a way to incorporate more vegetables into my diet. Now, I'm part of a veggie co-op. So whether I like them or not, every two weeks, I have a laundry basket filled with fresh veggies. You know what I've discovered... there are four categories:
1. Things I knew I liked and still do.
- Green Beans, Corn, and Broccoli (though I've dropped the canned green beans and corn and stick with fresh or frozen, and broccoli is preferred fresh and cooked in a skillet just enough to still be crisp).
2. Things I hadn't really tried and was pleasantly surprised.
- Squash, zucchini, edamame, and kale (although on squash and zucchini, I prefer them cooked al dente - not nearly as appetizing if they are smooshy)
3. Things I thought I hated, but gave them a second shot and was pleasantly surprised.
- Onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, cauliflower, carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach (just ask mom, she thinks I put spinach in EVERYTHING now...)
4. Things I knew I hated and still do.
- Brussel sprouts, mushrooms, olives, lima beans, and peas (though I'll tolerate peas if they are in a mixed dish)
Are veggies my favorite? Um, no, I'd rather eat a giant bar of chocolate, but I'm commited to eating them, and having fresh ones around the house really makes everything more delicious. So here's some of the ways I add veggies to my diet (besides just as a side dish at dinner)...
- Salads - I know, this is a no-brainer, but my salads in the old days used to consist of a bowl of iceberg lettuce with ham and cheese chunks covered in ranch dressing. Now, they are likely a huge bed of spinach, probably with a small chicken breast on top and I generally add carrots, bell peppers, sometimes broccoli, and basically anything I can find in my fridge. Sometimes I'll even give the veggies a quick cook in the pan just to add flavor and change the texture.
- Sandwiches - I love to add spinach and (don't think I'm a weirdo) carrots to my sandwiches. Seriously... love it. To get the carrots thin enough not to overpower, I use a peeler so I get nice thin shreds.
- Pizzas - Even if I have a store-bought pizza, I will often see what's in the fridge and add hoards of spinach and occassionally grated zucchini and thin slices of bell pepper.
- Pasta sauce - This is a veggie wonderland... you can add almost anything. For me, most often - carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, and onions.
- Eggs - Love to top them with a little spinach and some tomatoes, especially if we're having them for dinner.
- Soups - Another no brainer, this is an easy place to pretty much chop up anything you have in your fridge - especially onions, celery, and carrots.
And in the kids school lunches - I often put carrot sticks, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and bell pepper slices.
And as the former veggie hater... look at step one of my dinner tonight:
Yes, a great big bowl of zucchini, carrots, and cauliflower... right before I added in the onion and chicken... and...
Yum, teriyaki chicken on a bed of rice (half white and half brown). (Don't forget, my kids are 2, 6, and 8 - and yes, they eat every veggie on their plate... Paige, the 2-year-old, has often eaten half the veggies raw off the counter before I'm able to cook them.)
And last night? We had kale and potatoes with a tiny bit of sausage added... and the kids cleaned their plates.
Want more ways to add veggies to your dishes? Check out these blogs:
http://foodtorunfor.blogspot.com/ - Just look at the blog title, you know you need to check it! But Lizzy is an expert at incorporating veggies into dishes in uber-creative ways. Plus she's a marathoner!
http://www.baha703ironman.com/ - Jason posts an Athlete's Plate menu around once a week. He's meatless, but I have no problem substituting chicken for tofu! Plus he's working on a cookbook!