Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Personal challenge: Eating more veggies

Hey friends!

It's been a while since I posted anything about my quest to live healthier (other than my 5k posts). So here's an update:

I'm currently down about 18 pounds from my original starting weight back in January (as of today, I'm down 19! woohoo!). I hit two points over the summer where I was down 20+ pounds from the start, but then regressed. All in all, I'm happy to have maintained the loss that I'm at, but I am still five pounds from my goal weight.

I'm still doing pretty well with healthy eating calorie-wise, but I've noticed a lack of veggies in my life. So!

I have challenged myself to more vegetables!

I bet many of you think that as a vegetarian, all I eat is veggies, but that's definitely not the case. It's very easy to fall into a trap of pasta for every meal. In fact, on a typical day, I wasn't eating any veggies. Cereal for breakfast, pb&j, yogurt and an apple for lunch, and pasta for dinner -- but sometimes I do add broccoli.

I realize that adding veggies will not cause me to magically lose five more pounds. But I never set out just to lose weight -- I wanted to be healthier and this is part of it.

How I've gotten started:
I took a trip to Target (isn't that where all great things start?) and picked up zucchini, yellow squash, salad, spinach, baby carrots, broccoli and a green pepper. I know this sounds extreme and like I won't be able to eat it all before it goes bad, but that's part of the challenge!

All this week so far I've taken a salad to work for lunch -- lettuce, spinach, onion and green bell pepper (plus some dressing and cheese :)

I bought the giant heads of Romaine and have been cutting them myself. I think you get more bang for your buck this way. Here's how to cut them:
First, you're going to make a few slices lengthwise on the romaine heart. Make a slice, turn, make another. I do three or four. Then, cut across the top! Easy peasy.

And here's a good video teaching you to cut bell peppers:

Sunday night I was jonesing for a snack while dinner was cooking so I grabbed some carrot sticks. Nbd, but progress!

Monday night I attempted a "recipe" my sister uses. I say "recipe" because all it really is is sauteing yellow squash and zucchini in olive oil and then adding salt and pepper.

I gave it an A for ease, a C for finished product. I didn't mind the taste, but I didn't like the mushy. (Pat loved the zucchini and was meh on the squash, fyi.) So now I'm on the hunt for other healthy ways to use my squash and zucchini. Any tips?

Another sneaky way I've found I like veggies is in eggs! The only way I eat eggs is scrambled, but they're way good for you and way low on calories compared to other meals, plus they give me the protein I might lack as a vegetarian.

Anyway, add some torn up spinach to your eggs, toss in some parmesan and voila! Protein and veggies all in one dish! Perfect!

Seriously just toss it in there
End product!
I've also had GREAT success, even with people who hate broccoli, with this recipe. I'd encourage you to try it!

I'm still on the hunt for other ways to sneak veggies into my daily diet. Any tips out there? Or squash/zucchini recipes? I'd love to hear!


Kristen said...

One recipe I used for spaghetti squash included chicken, but you can easily omit that. There's also a recipe I pinned for stuffed peppers that you make in the crock pot. I can't remember if it contains meat but you can omit that too I'm sure.

And I usually buy the heads of lettuce too at Trader Joe's. They're cheaper and they last a lot longer!

Tamara said...

If you've never eaten a spaghetti squash - totally recommend! It was my newest find [not to the world, just to me] and it's so good & easy. Even the husband loves it.
For the yellow squash, I like slicing squash, zucchini, onions, mushrooms & tomatoes throwing them all together with some italian dressing and bake it in the oven. Or on the grill if you're cooking outside. So good.
The only time I really eat broccoli is if I'm steaming it with cauliflower. And carrots for me are a snack, I don't bake much. I just use them as my mid afternoon snack.

Breenah said...

I NEED to know if you find some absolutely delish recipes for veggies because Jarrod only likes salad, corn, and peas. And not even anything special, just steamed.

Meg said...

Though the zucchini does end up a bit mushy, making zucchini fries (baked in the oven) are delish! Here is the link to a pin I made so I don't lose the recipe:

I would definitely advise adding pepper to it. I also added some herbs, just whatever I felt sounded good at the time. And if you not my comment on the pin: use egg whites instead of butter. Or if you'd rather use olive oil you can do that too, but egg whites are the healthiest.

Shauna said...

I'm not a big fan of squishy squash either!!! And OMG I love that broccoli too! I was going to tell you to try that haha! Roasting brussel spouts, zucchini and broccoli is one of my favorites- just 20 min at 400 or something similar, yum!

Since you're already bringing a salad for lunch, try adding quinoa and garbanzo beans!

Kate said...

I could eat broccoli all day, ever day. But I want it to be steamed to a perfect softness or raw. I hate when it's cooked yet still too crunchy. (Though I'll still eat it. :P)

And I'm super impressed about the weight you lost! (Not that you needed to) I have a very similar weight loss goal/health goal. I need to start eating healthier. It's terrible.

You need to update us on all the veggie deliciousness that you discover. I need some motivation.

Katie said...

My mom used to sneak cauliflower in mashed potatoes. She kind of phased out the potatoes completely after a while. Also, I'm a total smoothie freak and I'll add a little bit of spinach (not enough to taste, but enough to add a serving of veggies). Good for you getting all veggie! I suck at it for the most part. But some weeks I do better than others!

Alyx said...

I sneak veggies into my diet in smoothies. Seriously - it's so easy to add a couple handfuls of spinach into a smoothie and not even realize it's there.

Cassy said...

OK, I'm going to go ahead and admit I didn't read through all the comments to be sure no one has suggested this yet (sorry!) but I LOVE yellow squash in pasta. I cut it up into bite-sized chunks and toss it in the sauce as it's cooking. Don't saute first - that'll make it mushy. It's especially delish in a spicy marinara ;)

Robin said...

Squash-filled ravioli is good. I especially like two frozen Lean Cuisine meals, butternut squash ravioli and pumpkin squash ravioli.

I've also seen pasta dishes that include very thin, narrow (almost noodle-like) zucchini slices. Here is one:


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