Ever since I was a teenager, I have been one of the lucky people who have truly loved veggies. Perhaps part of it was that I knew they were good for me so I wanted to like them but regardless, it has never been a chore to get my fill of vegetables.  About two weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I was not so lucky to discover that nausea was taking over my days and I began to have major food aversions I had never experienced before. My love affair with vegetables had quickly turned into a nasty relationship where I could barely even look them in the eye. No matter how the veggies were prepared (raw, sautéed, steamed, etc…) my body just really did not want anything to do with them. Being well aware of the importance of eating plenty of vegetables daily, especially while pregnant, I quickly learned that I would have to find creative ways to get them into my meals.

Most of us are aware by now how important it is to eat plenty of vegetables daily. The USDA’s new food plate suggests that we eat at least five servings a day. Fruits and veggies make up half the plate! Take a look:

More and more studies are being done to prove that eating vegetables daily helps to reduce the risk of various cancers, stroke, heart disease and other chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Plus, if you notice almost any diet being marketed will limit consumption of most foods – including fruit – with the exception of veggies. Not only are veggies incredibly beneficial for our health, most are also low in calories and sugar, making them a great food to eat often.

So if you are anything like me these past eight months and don’t like eating veggies, or have family members that won’t eat enough of them, here are some of the ways I have incorporated them into my diet without feeling like I want to gag every time I eat them. If you have some of your own clever ideas, please share them here so we have more ways to get the vital nutrients that come with eating our veggies.  Thank you!

  • Veggie powders: I have tried a few of the veggie powders out there and the one that I really like is Macro Greens. Macro Greens tastes really great (sweet and not like veggies at all) especially when you follow their suggested way of drinking it: mix the powder with ice, half water and half apple juice. This was my savior when I really couldn’t stomach eating vegetables the first trimester and it tasted more like apple juice than anything. There are so many other kinds out there so find the one that tastes the best to you and again. It shouldn’t replace eating veggies, but is a great way to add some more!
  • Veggie pills:  A dear friend of mine, Lindsay Hall, turned me on to this great product called, Juice Plus+ last spring. Juice Plus+ is 17 different fruits and vegetables that are juiced, dehydrated, and then encapsulated so that you can boost your veggie and fruit intake simply by popping a pill. It is well researched and proven to be bio-available (absorbed by the blood stream), to reduce oxidative stress, to help protect DNA, to aid cardiovascular wellness, and to support the immune system.  By no means should it replace eating vegetables but it is a great way to supplement when you know you aren’t taking enough in daily as is. Visit the site to learn more by clicking here.
  • Fresh veggie juices with a little fruit: I’d say for the past three months one of my major pregnancy cravings has been raw veggie juice with just a bit of apple and/or orange to hide the bitterness of the greens. If the thought of a veggie juice sounds terrible to you, try one with a little fruit and see if that helps. Many health food grocers have juice bars and more and more places that make fresh juices are popping up everywhere. My favorites are a combo of any or all of the following: kale, spinach, parsley, lemon or lime, cucumber, celery, apple and/or orange. Carrot and beet juice are other ones you may like to include, too!
  • Veggie sandwiches: During the second trimester, I was able to take down more veggies as the nausea subsided, but eating salads regularly was still not appealing. So I came up with the perfect solution – vegetable sandwiches.  Something about sticking a bunch of veggies between two pieces of yummy bread makes it so much easier – especially when dressed with sauces such as humus, mayo or Vegenaise, mustard, olive tapenade, or whatever other sauce tickles your fancy.  Get creative and change-up what veggies you put in! I love any and all of the following in mine and usually just have one made at the Whole Foods deli: carrots, cucumbers, tomato, avocado, sprouts, red onions, roasted red peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, spinach, mixed greens and lettuce. Add some deli meat and/or cheese and you have yourself a healthy and delicious veggie-filled meal!
  • Raw veggies and dressing for snacks: Usually on Sundays I go to the farmer’s market and buy a bunch of raw vegetables that I cut up to eat as snacks during the week. Since munching on them plain has been a challenge during pregnancy, I have found that dipping them in my favorite dressing has made them so much more enjoyable. My favorite at the moment is blue cheese but you can dip them in whatever will get you to eat them! My favorite ones to munch on are red, yellow and orange peppers, celery, cucumbers, jicama, radishes and carrots. Another tasty snack is slices of tomato with sea salt.
  • Veggies undercover: If you are a parent you may have already mastered this but one of the things I have learned to do these past eight months is sneak more veggies into my meals. When making a spaghetti sauce that is otherwise mostly meat and tomatoes, I will cut up small pieces of broccoli and stir that in, too. Cheese is a big craving for me right now so if I can put cheese or some sort of cream sauce on cooked veggies, they go down a whole lot easier. Try it! See where you can add vegetables to your recipes whether in soups, sauces, poultry or pastas and up the nutrition without feeling like it’s a chore to get those extra veggies.

Good luck!

Written by Lana House

Studio Owner, House Pilates