How I Eat Lots of Veggies

Editor's note: A friendly reminder that everyone has different dietary needs, and what works for author Dawn may not work for you.

My doctor asked me to try the DASH diet, a formalized version of the Mediterranean Diet. This includes 5-6 daily servings of fruits and veggies, less fat and sweets, and less refined carbs or more whole grains than the Standard American Diet.

What am I eating?

Most days I have some combo of low-carb bars, veggie bowls, meat, homemade tofu crumbles, low-carb yogurt, maybe one serving of fruit, pumpkin seeds, nut butter, and butter to taste. Most fruits aren’t my thing, but I do have several tart green apples with almond butter most weeks.

What I skip

Sweetened coffee creamer, all sugar sweetened drinks, granola bars, sweet and white potatoes, and all conventionally prepared gluten free baked goods.

What I buy

I’m a dedicated member of Team Frozen! Most frozen veggies taste fine and I love how much time and energy they save. Each week, I get broccoli, green beans, greens, (limited) acorn squash and green peas, okra, and cauliflower rice. I might get whole and fresh spaghetti squash, zucchini, turnips, radishes, and green cabbage.

Get shredded

I’m still cautious purchasing too many whole fresh items, as fatigue or stiffness can still jump up and bite me. Shredded kale and cole slaw are great for batch cooking and freezing.

Keep it simple

Complicated fiddly diet and lifestyle interventions feel like a bad idea to me, like a machine with too many moving parts. Each one of those parts is just itching to break down. Think of how your printer does when you absolutely must get something done.

My treacherous printer decided to stop working right after my uncle died. We pre-planned his funeral, but the cremation papers weren’t eligible for that process. So yeah, there I was printing test pages, reinstalling ALL the drivers, and scanning the form on that bad day. Yikes! I believe that there’s a little monster in there, waiting for the right moment to wreck everything. None of the researchers I know will confirm this, but they can’t rule it out either. Seriously, simple is the way.

How I picked my targets

Breakfast was my weakest meal. I hate eggs with the fire of 1,000 suns and don’t wake up ready to actually make something, so it’s the best candidate for ready made options. It’s also where lots of my carbs were getting in. I found several suitable "Keto" bars and picked the best looking one. They're not delicious, which is probably better.

Lunch was wide open for changes. I decided to swap out sandwiches, gluten free noodles, and baked potatoes for veggies bowls, with yogurt, green apples, and nut butter as back-up.

Dinner didn’t need much work. I just added a serving of veggies and dropped refined carbs.

Snacks and habits are powerful, especially things we consume most days of the week. Dropping my beloved overly tasty gluten free protein bars, granola bars, and flavored creamer cut my daily carbs in half. I barely miss these things, and I feel lots better.

What’s something you’ve changed in the kitchen?

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