Why are vegetables good for you?
Getting more veggies in your diet is one of the basics of the Mediterranean Diet. The best part is that it's the one thing you can't get too much of. (You'll never hear your doctor say, "Hmm, my lab tests show that you've been getting too many carrots.")
of the research on vegetables in the diet is focused on the antioxidants
abundant in everything from asparagus to zucchini. It is now clear
that that you cannot get the same benefit from taking those vitamins,
minerals and antioxidants in pill form (J Nutr http://www.nutritionj.com
/content/6/1/10)(Am J Clin Nutr 2006;84:880-87)(JAMA 2009;301:E1-E13)(Cochrane D Sys Rev no. 2 art. no.:CD007176(2008)). Recent studies show no benefit from taking supplements but getting the same vitamins from vegetables is pretty powerful. Each additional serving of fruit and vegetables per day reduces your risk of heart disease by 4%. That's huge! But it's not just about heart disease. Putting more veggies on your plate has been shown to reduce the risk of multiple types of cancers. Add to this that research also shows a clear weight loss benefit.
Maybe you're like my patients who say, "But I just don't like vegetables." They are quite sincere when they say this. When I ask if there are any veggies they will eat I always get a response. They will say, "Oh, I do like squash," or "Tomatoes and lettuce are fine." I keep asking and they keep coming up with ones that they will eat. I generally stop around 7 or 8 different veggies even though they said they wouldn't eat them because they "just don't like vegetables."
This is how you should get started. Make a list. What do you like? After you've done that, make a list of recipes you love. For instance, I will have patients say they don't like carrots, but when I ask about a particular recipe like Candied Carrots they will say, "I love those, but they're only for Thanksgiving." Of course there's no recipe that's just for a single day of the year, especially if it's veggies. Find the recipes you love, put the ingredients on your grocery list and get what you need the next time you are at the grocery store.
Plan on an extra helping for dinner. Buy enough when you are at the grocery so that you can make extra. It's just as easy to double the servings of Green Beans Almondine as it is cooking a single batch. It won't add many calories and they'll fill you up. You'll be healthier and there is excellent research to show that you'll be far more satisfied.
Keep in mind that vegetables aren't just for dinner. You can pile as many veggies on your sandwich at lunch as you want: lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, red peppers, onions, mushrooms, sprouts.... The list is endless and every day your sandwich will be an adventure.
Making vegetables part of your life as snacks is another great way to eat more. There's fantastic research that shows how satisfying this can be. Simple changes in just one of the foundation areas of a Mediterranean style diet can have a profound impact on your weight and long term health. Make the produce section at the grocery store your first stop.