Jennifer Hanway

Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.

Jennifer Hanway is a Holistic Nutritionist, Bio Signature Modulation Practitioner and Certified Personal Trainer, originally from London but now living in Newton Centre and working in Back Bay, Boston.

7 Easy Ways to Eat More Veggies Every Day!

I ask my clients to eat 8-9 servings (1 serving = 1 cup) of veggies a day. That sounds like an awful lot, but they have so many health boosting benefits that in my opinion it is the minimum we should all be eating. Here are some reasons why:

  • Veggies are not what they used to be - the vitamin and mineral content of vegetables these days are way lower than they used to be. Our soil is over-farmed, produce is under a great deal of environmental stress (even organic produce), it is shipped around the world and it can be weeks and weeks from harvest to our plates.
  • They are the food group that provides the most ‘bang for your buck’! When planning meals I ask my clients to choose the most nutrient dense foods possible. Vegetables are at the top of this list as they contain as host of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fibre for very few calories
  • Fabulous fibre! The Standard American Diet does not contain nearly enough fibre for great health. Rather than take a fibre supplement, adding a wide range of vegetables will help you both ensure enough fibre in your diet for great gut health (whilst getting all those great micronutrients) but also keep you full and satiated, leaving you less likely to reach for unhealthy choices.

8-9 servings can sound daunting at first, but if you break that down to 2 servings every time you eat (based on 3 meals and a snack) you can hit that goal pretty easily! Here are some ideas to help you out:

  1. The Most Important Meal of The Day - regular readers will know how much I love a great protein based breakfast, and adding vegetables to your first meal of the day will increase the health boosting benefits, help you feel full until lunch, increase your energy levels, and making great choices at the beginning of the day makes your more likely to make great choices all day! How about adding some slices of avocado, some steamed spinach, or some oven roasted cherry tomatoes to your breakfast? Eggs are a great vehicle for added veggies, throw in some bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and greens into an omelette and you are on your way to hitting your goal in a delicious way!
  2. Super Charged Veggie Smoothies - drinking one veggie smoothie a day can give you a huge head start on hitting your goal of 8-9 servings a day. I use a ratio of 3:1 veggies to fruits in my smoothies, and find this keeps enough sweetness without adding too much sugar. I use a base of leafy greens (spinach, kale, dandelion, chard - its fine to use frozen) and then add beets, carrots, celery, cucumber, bell peppers, whatever needs eating from my refrigerator! If you are new to veggie smoothies try this recipe - you will be a convert in no time!

Starter Green Smoothie

1 cup leafy green veggies

1 cup frozen spinach

½ avocado

½ apple

½ kiwi

Squeeze lime juice

Add 1.5 cups water, a little ice and blend!

Green Smoothie
Green Smoothie

3) Power Protein Shakes: for those of you who love your protein shakes try throwing a handful of frozen spinach in the blender, you won’t even notice the taste and the antioxidants will help ease any post workout inflammation!

4) Revamp The Wrapper: get creative with what you wrap your food in! Leafy greens can be a great alternative to tortillas and wraps, and how about putting your burger between a couple of beautiful portobello mushrooms instead of that boring burger bun?

5) Headline Act:  ensure veggies are the star of the show, rather than the support! Having the veggies as the main dish, with the meat as the ‘side’ is such a healthy way to balance your plant/animal protein intake, and makes you see veggies in a whole different light! This super simple spaghetti squash recipe from my ‘Glow For It’ ebook is a great example:

Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Sauce

1 medium spaghetti squash

1 can chooped and peeled tomatoes

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 minced garlic cloves

1 teaspoon oregano (fresh or dried)

¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt

¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper

Preheat over to 400F.

Halve spaghetti squash, deseed, and place flesh side down in a roasting tray with a little water.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes.

Place olive oil and garlic in a saucepan and heat until garlic is slightly browned. Add in tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper, bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and let thicken.

Using a fork scrape out insides of spaghetti squash, and pour over tomato sauce. Top with protein of your choice (grilled chicken is my favorite)! 

6) Smart Swaps: its super easy to up your veggie intake whilst eating out, with the added benefit of swerving some of the less nutrient dense choices! Does your steak come with fries? Ask if you can swap them out for a side salad or a serving of green veggies. Even ‘like for like’ subsitutions such as sweet potato fries for normal french fries can add a boost of extra nutrients (and sweet potato fries are the bomb)!

7) Muffins and Brownies and Cookies, Oh My! This is probably my favorite tip of them all! Just like anyone else I love sweet treats, and think there is no reason to indulge once in a while! But, in true Jenny fashion I like to employ the ‘bang for your buck’ principle too! There are many easy ways to use vegetable whilst making dessert and sweet treats, such as these delicious Beetroot Brownies from The Roasted Root, or my TigerNut and Carrot Muffins, or Avocado and Cacao Mousse.

What are your top tips for adding more veggies into your diet? I'd love for you to share them with me and my readers so we can all work on becoming our healthiest, happiest selves!