How to Get Your Servings of Vegetables

Fresh Produce Stand

Vegetables are the toughest part for most people to master when they choose a Mediterranean diet for long term lifestyle change and weight control.  Getting 8 servings of vegetables a day is a tough order, especially when breakfast and lunch can easily be entirely devoid of vegetable matter.  Salads are one of the keys to achieving this, because multiple vegetable servings can go into one main dish or one side, and most require little or no cooking.  They also are much more varied and versatile than the average iceberg, cucumber, and tomato combination. 

Mediterranean meals are often separated into multiple courses, each one offering a small amount of something delectable.  This method helps to slow down the pace of a meal, and offers an opportunity to put vegetables first in the meal, which can help get more servings into the diet.  A small “side” salad as a first course, or a hot vegetable alternative, can easily become that first course.

For individuals who just hate salads or raw vegetables, cooking vegetables is not difficult to master, and unlike main courses, are often easy to fix in a couple of minutes in a microwave if time and convenience are an issue. 

Grocery shopping for vegetables, and racing time to eat the vegetables in the fridge before they go bad is really the hard part of this segment of the Mediterranean diet.  Food knowledge and farmers markets are the two best tools for this task.  Although the potential extra shopping trip to keep fresh salad greens in the refrigerator can be a pain, having that supremely fresh vegetation available can easily become a treat, and having the greater variety that a farmer's market can offer, often varying weekly, can make it more worth one's while. 



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