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Sean McCawley

Sean McCawley 

We have been told by doctors and nutritional experts alike to consume vegetables on a regular basis, but some help is needed on just how to increase them in our daily lives.

Some of us can remember our parents making sure that we eat all of the vegetables on our dinner plates before we get our dessert. There is a lot of meaning to this statement. Veggies are important for optimal health and fitness. Eating more veggies will help with weight loss, disease prevention, and help us to live longer and healthier lives.

We promote these principles when coaching our personal training clients as part of our nutritional consultations. One common misconception is that consumption of vegetables are straight-up boring —salads, condiments on sandwiches or flavorless garnishes on the plate. A lot of our clients believe that vegetables are flavorless, not as tasty as other foods, and just a pain to prepare and eat. We work with clients to find solutions to add more veggies to the diet in a staple way.

One solution might be to add fun themes to specific days throughout the week that will inspire us to prepare different styles of dishes with a new twist on flavors. For example, adding a certain ethnic theme to specific dishes or a certain theme of food each day of the week. For instance, a Sheet Tray Sunday, where all your veggies are prepared in the oven on a sheet tray; Mediterranean Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, or Fish Fridays. If we focus on dishes that come from different cultural and ethnic culinary themes, we can find that certain dishes have specific vegetables that need to be added to these ingredients. This way, we can find out how to add variety. More importantly, we can learn how to enjoy the veggies in our food.

Cost and availability are a deterrent to buying vegetables. A solution is to look for the vegetables that are in season in the produce section. When we focus on what’s in season, we can find that there is a different variety of vegetables that are on sale in the produce section. For example, when artichokes are out of season, their prices increase. However, when they are in season, the grocery stores can’t get rid of them fast enough, so they’re going to go ahead and put them on the sale rack to promote sales before they rot.

This is just one example, but when we go into the produce section and look for the veggies that are on sale during their prime season, this offers ideas to broaden our horizons with the choices for vegetables. It’s also causes some relief when reaching for your wallet and also having the freshest quality.

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Another misconception is about food items we should be removing from our diet. For example, consuming less gluten, less dairy, and less processed foods get a lot of attention. To refine our diets further, perhaps it would be a good idea to focus on the opposite end of the spectrum. Instead of keying on what we can take out, focus on what can be put in, vegetables.. Instead of having one vegetable on your dinner plate and taking something out such as bread, perhaps have half the amount of bread and twice the amount of vegetables.

Another useful recommendation is to make sure that vegetables take up two-thirds of your plate. This doesn’t mean that you have to throw out your pasta, sourdough bread or potatoes. This just means to add more vegetables to what you have on your plate. A balanced meal should have some protein, some carbohydrates and as much veggies as you can fit on your plate.

The key to finding solutions to adding vegetable variety to our diets is to make sure that we keep it interesting. It’s always important to try new things; after all variety is the spice of life.. We want to keep our minds curious on how we can start to add different components to our food. When we learn to add different components to our food, we use our creative designer attributes to find innovative ways to gather more nutrients from the foods we eat.

As we pass through the door to veggie world, we can open our eyes to new ingredients that will help us add more vegetables and wholesome ingredients to our diets. This will assist us in our lifetime goals and deliver benefits that positively influence our weight loss efforts, stay free of illness, and improve our exercise performance. Keep looking for new ways to incorporate vegetables on your plates. I guarantee that we will live a healthier and more fit life by getting a better relationship with the various veggies surrounding us.

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Sean McCawley, the founder and owner of Napa Tenacious Fitness in Napa, CA, welcomes questions and comments. Reach him at 707-287-2727, napatenacious@gmail.com or visit the website napatenaciousfitness.com.

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