How to eat more vegetables
We get a lot of requests about one single question: How can I eat more vegetables?
Here’s an email from a reader we got a few weeks ago:
Hi! I am emailing for some tips on how to start a plant based diet for my family. Cooking does not come naturally for me. My kids are 5 and 2 and it’s important to me that we all fix up our eating habits. We eat lots of fruit and mostly chicken and rice is various forms. Vegetables are lacking in our diet other than raw carrots and cucumbers and occasionally some broccoli. Any advice you have that won’t blow out my budget would be great! ~Catherine M.
Just jump in
Alex and I have a unique approach when it comes to this conundrum. It’s called Just Jump In. The difference between JJI (can we call it that?) and other approaches to eating more vegetables is that in JJI, you don’t need to know anything to get started. You don’t have to wait to read up on cooking vegetables or buy lots of expensive kitchen gadgets. You simply need to make one recipe. For example, try a vegetarian main dish. If you like the recipe, great! Make it again sometime.
Here’s the kicker: if you don’t like the recipe or it didn’t fit into your lifestyle, you don’t throw in the towel and call it quits. You make another recipe and see if you like that one. You keep trying until you start to find recipes that do fit your tastes and lifestyle. It sounds overly simple, but so many people we talk to try one or two recipes and then quit. The reason Alex and I are here today are that we just kept trying! And we found delicious, wholesome vegetarian recipes that fit our budget and time constraints.
How to find the right recipes for you? We’ll admit, between the internet and cookbooks, it’s still difficult to find recipes that hit your dietary restrictions, taste preferences, and lifestyle requirements. Browsing for recipes on Pinterest makes me feel like I’m at TJ Maxx, trying to find something quality in the midst of things I don’t want or need. The reason Alex and I started A Couple Cooks was to create a collection of recipes that work for us. Now, with over 500 recipes, it’s difficult to find where to start.
Here is what we found to the answer to how to eat more vegetables: try to eat one vegetarian main course per week, then increase the frequency if you’re enjoying it. Surround yourself with recipes that work for you, and discard the ones that don’t. Instead of having it all together and making lots of lists, try one new recipe to start. Just jump in.
Here is our reply to Catherine:
To address your question: what Alex and I found about eating vegetables is that it’s way easier than we thought! All the recipes below are actually vegan (no dairy, though we do eat dairy ourselves!), and then I added some with dairy that we also like. We found that the BEST way to eating more veggies is to simply, START! Let me know if you have more questions!
Where to start: the recipes
Here is a list of the recipes we sent to Catherine. Most of the recipes on our website are vegetarian, approachable enough for a beginner cook or vegetable eater, and tasty enough to satisfy more sophisticated palates and make on repeat. But of all the recipes on our website, we’ve created this list of favorites for when you’re just getting started. Each recipe below is tried and true, with multiple “real life” testimonials we’ve heard from blog comments, on Instagram, or friends and family who have tried and enjoyed them.
Vegetarian / Plant-Based Soups and Curries (gluten-free and dairy-free)
Tomato Artichoke Lentil Stew
Italian White Bean Soup
Cauliflower and Tomato Curry
Quick Coconut Curry Lentils
Creamy Curry Pantry Soup
Simplest Creamy Tomato Soup
Red Lentil Soup
Quinoa Black Bean Chili
Hearty Sweet Potato and Kale Soup
Moroccan Chickpea and Sweet Potato Soup
Vegetarian / Plant-Based Bowl Meals (gluten-free and dairy-free)
Vegetarian / Plant-Based Entrees (gluten-free and dairy-free)
Quick & Easy Vegetarian Entrees
Did you make this recipe?
If you make any of these recipes or have other thoughts on how to eat more vegetables, we’d love to hear. Leave a comment below or share a picture on Instagram and mention @acouplecooks.
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.