A diet rich in vegetables will provide you and your family with a variety of nutrients your bodies need to function properly. Vegetables also help adults and children maintain a healthy weight and aid in preventing a number of health conditions. Fixing vegetable-based meals may seem more time-consuming than heading out to dinner, but if you consider a few quick options, you may find that you save time and money eating at home.
A fresh salad with a choice of favorite dressings is a nutritious way to get vegetables into your family's diet. Another option is to grill a selection of vegetables, such as peppers, asparagus, zucchini or eggplant. Simply brush or spray olive oil over the vegetables and season with salt, pepper, your favorite herbs or a dry mix before you place them on the grill. Another option is to place the oiled, seasoned vegetables on a baking sheet and cook them in the oven. If you like baked potatoes, center your meal around a baked russet or sweet potato, using the vegetables as a simple topping and sprinkling with Parmesan cheese.
Rice and Pasta
Vegetables go well with pasta and make an easy dinner. Steam or sauté your vegetables just until crisp, and add cooked pasta. For flavor, mix in olive oil, butter, garlic, dry mix seasonings such as spicy ranch or a light sauce for a burst of flavor. Put together a quick stir-fry by sauteing vegetables in soy sauce, teriyaki or other sauce until cooked to your liking. Pour the vegetables over cooked rice, and spoon extra sauce over the vegetables and rice.
Casseroles make a simple meal option for busy families. Layer sliced potatoes in a dish, alternating with onions, cheese or other ingredients, add a bit of milk and bake for an easy scalloped potato meal. You can also place steamed vegetables in a casserole dish with rice or pasta, then add a savory dressing as a sauce. Cover and bake for an easy after-work meal. To save time, pull leftover steamed vegetables, pasta or other items from the refrigerator, and place them into a baking dish. Add your children's favorite sauce, sprinkle with cheese and bake.
An easy vegetable meal will provide a good source of nutrition, but you may want to add protein to your meal. Many people think meat, fish or seafood when they think protein, but plant-based protein is available, too. Include cooked legumes, such as white kidney beans or lentils, to any type of vegetable dish. Tofu, a soy product, provides a good source of protein. Marinate it and serve it cold, or sauté slices or cubes with vegetables for a stir-fry.
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