Every nutritionist on the planet recommends eating more veggies, but only about a quarter of Americans down the recommended minimum three daily servings. It’s no secret that filling the gap will boost your nutrient intake and slash the risk of nearly every major disease, including obesity. Trouble is, a lot of my clients tell me they just can’t get veggies to taste as good as they do when they’re out to dinner. I have three easy tricks for making fresh or frozen versions taste delicious, without dousing them with butter or tossing them in a deep fryer:
Reach for This.
After steaming fresh or frozen veggies, toss them with a jarred pesto, tapanade or all natural fruit butter: one level tbsp per cup cooked veggies is all you need. Some of my favorite combos include:
•Broccoli with sundried tomato pesto
•French cut green beans with black olive tapenade
•Yellow wax beans with artichoke pesto
•Spaghetti squash with apple butter or pumpkin butter
•Spinach with roasted red pepper pesto
Only two ingredients and your veggie side dish is compete.
Fire Up the Grill
Prep veggies, like carrots, asparagus, and peppers, place in foil, mist with extra virgin olive oil, drizzle with a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar or another flavored variety (like fig or black currant), sprinkle with herbs like thyme, rosemary and cracked black pepper and toss on the grill. Some take as little as 10 minutes to become tender. Or use the same seasonings on skewer kabobs, alternating baby Brussels sprouts with mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and onion slices — yum!
Whip Up This Sauce
Saute fresh or frozen veggies with a simple ginger sauce made from 2-3 tbsp vinegar (Japanese rice or apple cider are perfect), a splash of fresh citrus juice (orange, tangerine, whatever’s in season), 1 Tbsp chopped scallions, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp fresh grated ginger, and if you like a little kick, a dash of crushed red pepper. This concoction works well with a frozen Asian medley or a mixture of fresh cabbage, broccoli, peppers, onions, mushrooms and asparagus.
Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV she's a SHAPE contributing editor and nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays. Her latest New York Times best seller is Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches.