Everyone should eat more vegetables. This is not news. Pretty much everyone in the country, with the exception of a few very dedicated vegetarians, dietitians, and health nuts, need to eat more vegetables. Several years ago I attended the Culinary Institute of America’s Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives event, a partnership with Harvard School of Public Health. One of the speakers (but I can’t remember which one) talked about the Four S’s being a simple culinary secret to getting people to eat more vegetables. (I have no idea who it was, but remember it was a woman. If you were there, send me her name so I can give her credit!) I realized as she was speaking that she was totally right! I’d been unknowingly doing it for years, but hadn’t really given it a lot of thought. We still do it in my house. We use these four S’s to pack in the vegetables – including lots of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and powerful phytonutrients. Want to know what they are? Of course you do.
- Stir Fry
That’s it! Each of these categories of foods allow you to pack in the veggies in a million different combinations to create amazing, delicious, beautiful meals. And it’s how I do it around here all the time. Here are some of my favorite tips for each of the four S’s:
Soups – Always add vegetables to soups. In fact, make vegetables the star of your soups! Don’t stop at broccoli, potato, and tomato soups; get creative. If you need inspiration, my favorite cookbook for soups is the Moosewood’s Daily Specials cookbook.
Salads – You can use all kinds of vegetables for salads – not just lettuce! I love to mix all kinds of veg together for a chopped salad (fruit too!). Spinach, cucumber, red cabbage, sliced carrots, ribbons of zucchini, and vine ripe tomatoes are all good, and so are cauliflower and thin asparagus. You can make salads out of raw or cooked vegetables. I’m particularly fond of leftover roasted root vegetables served cold the next day.
Stir Fry – Seriously, you can’t get much easier or quicker than stir fry for dinner on a weeknight. You can create a ton of fantastic stir fry combos using any variety of vegetables and the protein of your choice. I love to make broccoli with chicken, mixed vegetable with tofu, and shrimp with peppers, served over brown rice or whole wheat spaghetti with a simple peanut sauce.
Smoothies – My toddler is in that won’t eat anything phase. But he will eat anything that I blend up into a smoothie! I always add spinach and sometimes I add avocado, steamed carrots, and even a little bit (goes a long way) of beets. Combine with yogurt, milk, 1/2 banana, a handful of frozen berries and a touch of honey and no one’s the wiser!
What do you think? Are you, like me, already using this secret weapon and didn’t even know it?! Or is this a new revelation for you?
If you need more inspiration, be sure to follow my feed on Instagram. I think you’ll agree, my diet is pretty veggie heavy! Hope it will inspire you too.