BIG Nutrition: Vegetable Strategies


BIG Nutrition: Vegetable Strategies

Maximizing the variety and color of vegetables that you are eating is associated with a healthier and more appetizing meal or snack!

Food prep and photo by our nutrition challenge participant Krissy Friel!

Beige, Yellow Orange, Red Green Purple








Yellow squash

Yellow peppers


Orange and red peppers



Red onion




Bok choy


Brussels sprouts




Green beans

Greens—spinach, romaine, arugula, turnip, mustard, kale, Swiss chard



Purple Cabbage

Purple Carrots


Winter squash (e.g., butternut, acorn, spaghetti), sweet potatoes, potatoes (white, purple, red, yellow), corn, peas, and parsnips, are starchy vegetables and nutritionally are more similar to grains for their macronutrient (carb, protein, fat) than the vegetables listed above.


Need a new strategy for including more vegetables in your day? Here are some to try!

  • Put vegetables where you can see them! On the counter or in the refrigerator, placing them where you can see them helps promote veggie intake.
  • Include them at all three meals, not just lunch and dinner. For breakfast, include left over roasted veggie in eggs, add cherry tomatoes as a side with breakfast, or consider cucumbers and Greek yogurt.
  • As a variation on bread with an egg cooked in the middle (aka, toad in a hole), try an egg cooked in a pepper ring!
  • Have a salad plus a veggie at a meal.
  • Eat two veggies at a meal; more interesting than just eating more of one veggie, eating two veggies puts more nutrients or make one cooked and one raw (like…sliced tomatoes, peppers).
  • Include veggies as part of a snack—hummus and raw veggies.
  • Skip the cooking step! Raw veggies can be eaten anytime; as you are waiting to eat or preparing a meal is a great time.
  • Place a plate or container of raw veggies on the table, so before having a second helping of food eat some raw veggies.
  • Wrap sandwich or taco fixings in cabbage, lettuce, chard, or kale leaves.
  • Go frozen. If you run out of fresh vegetables, having a bag of frozen broccoli on hand can save a meal!
  • Shift the proportion. For example, add peppers, onions, and tomatoes, to the beans and meat in your best chili recipe. The same goes for soup or stew—carrots, celery, bok choy, cabbage, peppers, mushrooms—add color and texture.
  • Join a CSA. Weekly community supported agriculture (CSA) shares are available from area farms. They are also often available through communities, such as, churches, temples, and schools.
    • Allandale Farm, 259 Allandale Road, Brookline, MA 02467.
    • Brookfield Farm, 64 Kenton Rd., Boston, MA 02130, has a winter crop share and applications are being accepted now.
    • Newton Community Farm- 303 Nahanton Street, Newton, MA 02459. They have a late fall CSA; sign up before 21 October.
    • Stillman’s Farm delivers to a variety of locations including JP, Newton, and Brookline.
  • Plant a vegetable garden next spring/summer. Whether it is on a plot of land or in a pot, it is hard to not eat them when you grow them!
  • Add veggies to grains. Vegetables help flavor any grain and are a way to get in an additional vegetable for a meal.

Happy and healthful eating,

Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN


Have a question about whether you need supplements, e.g., protein powder, creatine, leucine and others to meet nutrition needs? Contact me at [email protected]