8. Puree into soup. Potatoes, carrots, winter squash, cauliflower, and broccoli — just about any cooked (or leftover) vegetable can be made into a creamy, comforting soup. Here’s a simple recipe: In a medium saucepan, sauté 1 cup finely chopped onion in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil until tender. Combine the onion in a blender or food processor with cooked vegetables and puree until smooth. Return puree to saucepan and thin with broth or low-fat milk. Simmer and season to taste.
9. Add a bit of sweetness to your veggies. A study conducted at the State University of New York found that students like broccoli and cauliflower more when the vegetables had a 5 percent sugar solution added to them (basically, just a bit of sugar dissolved in water).
10. Follow the golden rule: Half of your dinner plate should be vegetables. That leaves a quarter of the plate for a healthy starch and a quarter for lean meat or fish. This is the perfectly balanced dinner, says Joan Salge Blake, R.D., clinical assistant professor of nutrition at Boston University’s Sargent College.
11. Build a sandwich that has more lettuce and tomato than meat. Stack the meat filler in the sandwich to no higher than the thickness of a standard slice of bread. Then pile on low-calorie slices of lettuce and tomatoes to the combined height of both slices of bread. Presto: Your sandwich tower has the height of the Empire State Building yet the svelteness of the Eiffel Tower, says Blake.
12. Have a veggie burger for lunch once a week topped with a sliced tomato and lettuce. Honestly, they taste better than you imagine.
13. Open a can of low-sodium soup and add a bag of precut broccoli and carrots, either fresh or frozen. Voilà! You have a superfast and easy lunch or dinner entrée, ready to be flavored with your preferred spices, herbs, or hot sauce. As the soup simmers, it will simultaneously cook the veggies, boosting the nutritional value and fiber, say the nutrition twins, Tammy Lakatos Shames, R.D., and Lyssie Lakatos, R.D. The two are the authors of Fire Up Your Metabolism: 9 Proven Principles for Burning Fat and Losing Weight Forever.
14. Move your veggies to the top shelf of the refrigerator. As long as they are bagged properly, they’ll last as well as if in a vegetable crisper. More important, now they’ll be visible and enticing, say the nutrition twins. In particular, keep fast-to-eat vegetables like baby carrots, precut red and green pepper strips, broccoli florets, tomatoes, and cucumbers as accessible as possible.
15. Eat vegetables like fruit. Half a cucumber, a whole tomato, a stalk of celery, or a long, fresh carrot are as pleasant to munch on as an apple. It may not seem typical, but who cares? A whole vegetable makes a terrific snack.
16. Have a V8. Although higher in sodium, vegetable juices do provide the nutrition of a vegetable serving. Throw a six-ounce can of vegetable juice or tomato juice into your tote in the morning; many come in low-sodium forms, says Mary Gregg, R.D., director of Human Care Services for NutriSystem, Inc.