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8 Ways to Eat More Vegetables Without Even Trying

Boost your health, lose weight, and improve your energy with these easy vegetable recipes and swaps.

Courtesy of Missy Chase Lapine, creator of Sneaky Chef Foods

Swap them in


Start with comfort foods you already like: replace some ground beef in your burger with chopped beets (high in folate, manganese, potassium) or mushrooms (rich in niacin, copper, potassium, zinc, selenium, and B vitamins). Make veggie nuggets from The Weelicious Cookbook out of potato, carrot, and corn. Or go shopping: Brands like Veggie Patch offer spinach nuggets or broccoli bites with cheese and Amy’s products include vegetable-loaded burritos, pizzas, burgers, and many more satisfying staples. Learn about the things that happen to your body when you don’t eat enough fruits and veggies.

Courtesy of Missy Chase Lapine, creator of Sneaky Chef Foods

Blend them in


Do like desperate moms and blend red and orange vegetables with a little water, then eat them in your pasta sauce, nacho cheese dip, even French toast batter. Other ideas to try: The Sneaky Chef author Missy Lapine’s green purée goes down easy in meatloaf, meatballs, chicken parm, ravioli—even guacamole. Nutritionist Rania Batayneh, author of The One One One Diet, swaps butternut squash for as much as half the cheese in recipes like quesadillas, grilled cheese, and macaroni and cheese.

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Spread them on


Pass on the butter and top your toast with a sweet potato spread from bloggers at The Gentle Home. You can also mash avocados with sea salt for a treat that’s rich in monounsaturated fat and full of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. It’s especially important if you’re showing these 8 clear signs you’re not eating enough vegetables.

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Hash them out


Flip the potato-heavy ratio of your usual recipe to favor more colorful vegetables. Go beyond peppers and onions to experiment with carrots, zucchini, and leeks like the bloggers at Dinner on the Cheap in these vegetable hashbrowns. Other ideas: add wilted greens like chard, kale, spinach, or beet greens, mix in cooked chopped broccoli or cauliflower, or grate in raw sweet potato, beets, cabbage, or kohlrabi. Find out some surprising health benefits of beets you never knew about—plus some risks of eating them.

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Start off with them


Not harder than your typical toast and eggs: Mix whatever raw or cooked vegetables you have on hand, season with salt and pepper, and place a poached egg atop this bed of nutrients. Faith Durand at blog The Kitchn offers a low-carb idea with parmesan, avocado, and crumbled bacon; over at the blog A Nutritionist Eats, a hearty cobb salad gets turned into a satisfying breakfast recipe. Don’t miss these other 30 healthy eating tips that could change your life.

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Bake them in


If you don’t have a favorite vegetable muffin or bread recipe, try the sweet potato and zucchini bread from Epicurious, which contains walnuts for added heart-healthy omega-3s. Other ideas: blog Kitchen Treaty’s hearty spiced carrot muffins also get a boost from whole wheat flour, rolled oats, and apple sauce. If you aren’t a baker, pick up Garden Lites goods, like zucchini chocolate or carrot berry muffins.

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Dip them in


Instead of chips or pita to scoop up hummus or veggie dip, use carrots, jicama, celery, bell peppers, snap peas, or broccoli. Better yet, try the 10 healthiest vegetables you can eat.

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Drink them down


Greens like spinach, kale, and arugula are unnoticeable when mixed with sweet berries, grapes, apples, and juices; red vegetables like beets or tomatoes are the stars of these delicious smoothies. Even avocados are easily masked in a shake, yielding a thick, creamy drink. Add flaxseed meal or chia seeds for healthy omega-3s. You can also make any smoothie into a cold treat by freezing it in molds, like kale chocolate fudge pops. Check out the 50 best healthy eating tips of all time.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest