Depending on your personal eating habits, it may or may not come as a surprise to you that 90% of Americans don’t consume the daily recommended amount of vegetables. For some, “vegetable” might even be a dirty word! But there are far too many health benefits that come from eating vegetables to simply cast them aside. And the good news is that there are easy ways to make snacking on vegetables enjoyable and delicious.
Hummus is Here to Help.
One of the fastest growing food trends in the U.S. has been the rise of hummus. At its core, hummus is simply mashed up beans, chickpeas to be precise, making it a good source of protein. While hummus can be consumed on its own and used in all sorts of recipes, it’s also great for dipping.
Celery, carrots, and other crunchy vegetables go well with hummus dips. To keep the healthy snacking interesting, there are also many different flavors of hummus available. Roasted red pepper, garlic, and sun-dried tomato flavored hummus are some of the most popular examples, but there are a lot more flavors out there as well.
Dip into Greek Yogurt.
If chickpeas aren’t your thing, or if you’re looking for a smoother, creamier alternative in which to dip your veggies, Greek yogurt dip is another healthy and tasty option. Like hummus, greek yogurt has gained popularity in the U.S. in recent years. The reasons for this sudden surge of consumption are debatable, but part of it likely has to do with the higher protein and calcium content found in Greek yogurt. It’s also lower in sugar than typical yogurt.
Just as Greek yogurt provides a healthier alternative to regular yogurt, Greek yogurt dip is a smart replacement for standard sour cream dips, which contain less nutritional value. Greek yogurt dips also come in a variety of flavors, like french onion, cucumber dill, and jalapeno! So if you’re not a fan of naked vegetables, dipping into Greek yogurt is a delicious way to spice things up.
Another wise dipping option is guacamole. Guacamole is made from avocados, nutritious fruits filled with vitamins and healthy fats. The avocados are mashed and typically mixed with tomatoes, onions, garlic, salt, and possibly peppers and other things, depending on the recipe.
While tortilla chips are most often dipped into guacamole, vegetables like carrots and celery are prime dipping candidates as well. And, if nothing else, a variety of vegetables can be mixed in and added to any guacamole recipe to increase its nutritional value, texture, and flavor.
Studies have shown that consistent, daily fruit and vegetable consumption can greatly reduce incidences of stroke, heart disease, and other illnesses. Regularly eating vegetables also increases one’s quality of life by providing more energy throughout the day. So eat your veggies, even if it means you need hummus, Greek yogurt dip, and/or guacamole to play the middle-man before you chow down.