Vegetables pack more nutritional density per gram than any other food group.  By increasing your ratio of vegetables to grains and starches you’ll not only reduce blood sugar swings as described in my story, but you’ll get all the benefits of better nutrition like reducing the risk of disease and obesity and increase your energy levels and mental performance.  For a simple way to get started, use the habit below.
 
Eat More Vegetables Habit
  • Pick one meal per day to decrease your grains/starches and increase your vegetables.
    • Cut the amount of grains and starches you eat in half
    • Double the amount of vegetables you eat
  • Divide your plate into thirds to increase your vegetables
    • Standard American Diet – 1/3 meat + ~2/3 grains and starches + minimal vegetablescircle_thirds_grains
    • Eat More Veg Diet – 1/3 meat or protein + 1/3 grains and starches (reduction) + 1/3 vegetables (increase)
circle_thirds_veg

Make your plate look like this and vegetables will thank you. They appreciate the attention.

  • “Non-Veg Lover” Habit Strategy
    • If you’re not eating vegetables regularly, start eating a fistful of vegetables with your meals.  Pick any vegetable you like.  If you don’t like any vegetables, try a bunch and keep trying.  It may take some time to develop a palate for vegetables.  That’s normal.  Keep at it.  Try cooking them different ways.  Use butters, oils, and spices to add flavor.  Check out a farmer’s market to find the freshest, highest quality vegetables.  We go to great lengths for sweet, salty, fatty, cheesy, and meaty food.  Experiment with the best veg to build a taste for these overlooked, under-appreciated, nutritional dynamos.
 
Eat More Vegetable Tactics
  • Easy options
    • Sliced raw carrots or bell peppers and hummus
    • Spinach, arugula, romaine salad with red onion, tomatoes, and olive oil
    • Roasted carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, or zucchini with shredded cheese
    • Tomato, basil, mozzarella salad
    • Scrambled eggs, onions, and tomatoes
  • Substitutes
    • Butternut squash for potatoes
    • Mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes or rice
    • Thinly sliced zucchini or spaghetti squash for pasta
  • Food Shopping Tips
    • Take 5 minutes before you start food shopping to plan what vegetables you want to try that week.
    • Plan to buy half as much grains/starches and twice as many vegetables.
    • If you’re new to buying vegetables, ask a veg-eating friend to help you shop the first time.
    • Buy vegetables that feel fresh and crisp and avoid watery vegetables that will deteriorate quickly.
  • Use these Food Rules from Michael Pollan as a guide
    • Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.
    • Eat only foods that will eventually rot.
    • Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature.
    • If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.
    • Eat your colors.
    • Eat well-grown food from healthy soil.
    • Eating what stands on one leg [mushrooms and plant foods] is better than eating what stands on two legs [fowl], which is better than eating what stands on four legs [cows, pigs, and other mammals].

 

vegtables
 
 
Summary
You are what you eat.  Would you rather be a bland white starch, a dull brown grain, or a vibrant, vivid vegetable? 
 
There’s room in life for all three, but increasing the ratio of vegetables to starches and grains in your diet will make you a little leaner, a little more energetic, and a little more focused.  Start your journey by picking one meal and cutting your grains and starches in half and doubling down on your vegetables.  You’ll shine a little brighter the next day and transform into a supernova in time.