Day 3 – Work in Some Veggies

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When it is time to fix a meal, do you usually have a vegetable in mind as part of the plan?  For me, this is much harder in the fall.  During summer, veggies are great either raw or grilled – and so many are in season that it is easy to “eat the rainbow” every day.  But now we’re into cooking season.  Adding a veggie is too often a last-minute add-on, and sometimes left out completely.  It’s easy to think “I’ll make chicken for dinner” without finishing that thought with “and some nice fresh organic broccoli with a pat of butter and a squeeze of lemon juice”.

Potatoes or rice are easy and popular side dishes.  Unfortunately, both are very starchy so they behave a lot like simple sugars when they get to your stomach – quick to digest, quick to send your blood sugar into the stratosphere, and quickly followed by a slump in your energy level.

Give broccoli, or chard, or bell peppers a shot at being Best Supporting Veggie to your main dish.  They cook up pretty quickly and don’t need to be fussed over – and they add bright color and great flavor to your meal.

Sweet potatoes and squash are great for autumn too, although they take a little longer.  Try cooking enough for two or three meals on an evening or weekend afternoon.  They don’t need much attention so you are free to do something else while they are in the oven.  They will reheat beautifully in the microwave in just a minute or two.  Baked sweet potatoes are delicious with just a shake of cinnamon on top.

When dinner is nearly ready and you need a quickie veg, pull out some fresh, already washed, organic spinach and toss it with a little olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar or lemon for a super-fast, super-nutritious side.  A quick spinach salad is also a great boost next to that sandwich you packed for lunch.

Bonus tip:  If you don’t buy Costco-sized boxes of fresh spinach because it spoils before you can finish using it, just put the extra in a Ziploc bag in the freezer.  It won’t work for salad once it’s been frozen, but it’s still quick and easy to pull out the amount you need and saute it with a little olive oil and garlic for a 5-minute hot vegetable dish.   I also saute a big handful of fresh or frozen spinach leaves in a little olive oil, then break a couple of eggs into the pan and scramble it all together.  Add a sprinkle of feta cheese crumbles or a little Parmesan for an extra pop of flavor.

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