How many servings of vegetables do you get each day? Did you know we’re all supposed to get five to nine (NINE!) servings? Many of us don’t even come to close to hitting this range. Maybe it’s because vegetables seem boring, or too annoying to clean and chop, or you’d just rather have a slice of pizza and call it day? Whatever your reason, I’m here to tell you that it’s totally possible to hit that recommended goal — without having to eat raw carrots every other hour.
I’ve learned, over the years, that it really just comes down to how prepared you are. Obviously, you need to have veggies on hand. And I also strongly believe that a few small appliances will help. Allow me to explain: These are the tools that help me eat more veggies each and every day.
Note: Of course, you don’t need fancy cooking appliances to actually eat more vegetables. My point is just that these will help you get more creative and inspired.
1. Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender, $350
I bought my first Vitamix 11 years ago with a tax refund and have been smitten ever since. I call my Vitamix my first love when it comes to kitchen appliances, and I promise — that’s not me being dramatic. I love Vitamix’s high-powered blenders so much, I now own three of them! I use one at least twice a day to make veggie- and fruit-based smoothies, plus things like soups, dips, dressings, hummus, guac, and salsa. You can even use a Vitamix to make your own homemade green juice! They’re not cheap, but I swear your Vitamix will pay for itself in no time.
2. Cuisinart 7-Cup Food Processor, $99
This larger model from Cuisinart also gets high ratings, but because it’s just me, I prefer a smaller option, which is still large enough for most jobs. It slices, dices, chops, and purées nearly any vegetable in just seconds and has held up incredibly well over the last five years since I got it. It’s perfect for prepping salads, coleslaw, and smaller cuts of fresh vegetables for soups and stews. I also love using it to make homemade dips. It can even make nice cream (ice cream that’s made from frozen fruit instead of dairy).
3. 6.5-Quart Vitaclay Multi-Crocks N’ Stock Pot, $130
If you’ve read my article on why I sold my first two Instant Pots, you’ll already know I love my Vitaclay. This appliance makes the best-tasting dishes I’ve ever had when it comes to slow cooker or multi-cooker meals. And I swear, I feel healthier and more energetic after I cook with it! The meals I make in this also cook quickly: I can cook up a veggie-rich soup, stew, curry, or even a batch of rice or whole grains to serve along with veggies in less than half the time of a traditional slow cooker.
I prefer to use my Vitaclay 90 percent of the time when I’m cooking hot meals with vegetables, because they come out so delicious and flavorful. How can this be? VitaClay inserts are made of non-toxic verified unglazed Zisha clay, which have be proven to retain more enzymes, nutrients, and flavor than other cooking appliances provide. These do require some care while cleaning, but are still super easy to wash. I’ve had a few models over the last eight years and they have all held up incredibly well and have never cracked or broken.
4. George Foreman Mini 2-Serving Indoor Grill, $16
This was the very appliance that helped me learn to love vegetables (more than a decade ago when I first taught myself to cook). Before this appliance came into my life, I thought I hated vegetables, but when I started grilling things like zucchini, asparagus, yellow squash, and red peppers, I realized how delicious they were! I don’t use this grill to make meat dishes as most people do — I just use it for vegetables! I love that I can cook them in just minutes and don’t need to add salt, oil, or condiments (like I used to do to cover up various flavors!). Other things to grill on this guy: mushrooms, sweet potato slices, beets, zucchini, tomato, cauliflower “steaks,” and homemade veggie burgers.
5. Instant Pot DUO Plus Mini, $90
This 3-quart Instant Pot is a new appliance in my life — and I’m loving it way more than I thought I would. As I mentioned, I didn’t love my larger 6- and 8-quart Instant Pots for several reasons, but this 3-quart version is a game-changer for me. Not because the larger ones don’t cook veggies perfectly fine — they certainly do. I just found that the smaller size is best for me, as I’m only cooking for myself.
My favorite things to make in the Instant Pot are soups, stews, baked potatoes, winter squash, and hearty batches of steamed vegetables (thanks to this handy steamer basket I bought to go with it!). It also makes whole grains to go alongside veggies in just minutes!
Pro tip: Buy the glass lid for just $10 if you plan to use it as a slow cooker. I can’t recommend it highly enough!
What are your favorite kitchen tools, big or small, that makes eating your vegetables easier each day?
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