Low maintenance vegetable eating
August 27, 2009 10:12 AM   Subscribe

What's the laziest way to eat enough vegetables? Preferably also at the nexus of tasty/palatable and cheap. Easy includes not having to worry about wilting, minimal preparation (washing, chopping, etc) and clean up, maximum portability.

I like vegetables and am happy to eat them in almost any form when the prep and clean up are taken care of for me, but I have no patience for preparing them.

I'm happy to spend some money on this but not too much.

Would 3 cans of v8 a day really do it? What about the spinach potato dish on rice from the Pakistani take-out place near work - how much spinach is enough vegetables for the day? Is spinach more efficient than okra? Or a shake/smoothie that I can buy (ie not prepare for myself) - what would give me enough for a day when I'm otherwise not eating anything green or greenish? (There's a place near me that sells these, what combination/density of veggies is best?) How far would a can of peas at work every day get me? Other suggestions? I know I can buy a can of spinach/collard greens/turnip greens, but that by itself is not super fun for me to eat. (Peas with salt are fine).

No cooking is ideal, but I do have a microwave at work and am on decent terms with my toaster oven at home. I'd rather have ways to do one big vegetable consumption activity per day, even as its own whole meal, instead of having to do side dishes with meals.

Thank you!
posted by Salamandrous to Food & Drink (49 answers total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
Can you get those Green Giant or Birds Eye vegetables from the freezer section, and heat one up at lunch? They're not bad.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:14 AM on August 27, 2009

They have frozen microwaveable veggie pouches these days with things like asparagus and baby carrots in them. You zap them for five minutes and put a little butter and salt and pepper. They're delicious and taste surprisingly fresh. You can add some chicken to them or toss them with pasta with olive oil and cheese and have instant primavera. Yum!
posted by Kimberly at 10:17 AM on August 27, 2009

Ok, this requires chopping an onion, but it's really simple and fast and actually delicious. If you're cooking for someone Southern, call it "greens" ans they'll never complain that you didn't actually spend an hour filling your house with noxious cabbagey collard green steam.


2 tbs butter
1/4 onion, mined
1/2 pound frozen spinach (half the giant bag you can buy for $1)

Chop the onion; you can chop the whole thing as once and save it for other preparations. Saute it in the butter until translucent and soft. Dump in the spinach and cook until heated through. Salt to taste.
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:18 AM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by Juliet Banana at 10:19 AM on August 27, 2009

Buy a tub of hummus and some veggies that you might find on a party tray, like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, radishes, cucumber, bell peppers, etc. No cooking necessary, just wash and chop, and you can even be extra lazy and chop as you eat.
posted by waxboy at 10:22 AM on August 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

Clean and chop in advance (celery, carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, etc.), store in Tupperware, and dip in hummus, baba ganoush, guacamole, etc.

Try cherry tomatoes -- no chopping necessary.

Also: Broccoli Wokly!!!

Terra Chips advertise themselves as a fun way to get "1 full serving of vegetables" in 1 oz. of chips. But they do seem like variants on potato chips. Maybe someone more knowledgeable than me can chime in to say how healthy they really are.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:25 AM on August 27, 2009

Nthing frozen veggie packs. I will typically get broccoli pieces or baby peas and heat them in the microwave. It's fast and good.

Alternatively, for veggies-on-the-go, I'll get some celery hearts or carrots or grape tomatoes and a big thing of hummus from the grocery store. There's no prep, it's really healthy and it can fill you up for several meals.

If you don't mind keeping some dressing around, you could premix some olive oil and basalmic vinegar, bring it to the office, and then make a salad with ingredients in the fresh produce aisle. This may take more time than you're willing to use.

If you're looking to get nutrients from green veggies, that spinach potato dish over rice is not going to cut it. Sure, it will give you calories and fill you up, but there's really no benefit from the potato or the rice.
posted by scrutiny at 10:28 AM on August 27, 2009

I'd say add frozen veg to anything you cook except you say you don't want to cook.......

Vegetable soups for microwaving - you could add any frozen veg for added load.

Have the stir fried veg instead of rice when you have a Chinese?

Have salad for lunch (i.e. salad bar)?

Any number of things don't require cooking - you can eat cherry tomatos as they come, you can simply cut slices of a pepper or eat mushrooms and sugar snap peas uncooked. Get something to dip into if you prefer - I have in the past taken to work as part or indeed all of my lunch - punnets of cherry tomatos, two people serving bags of sugar snap peas, punnets of mushrooms and have eaten these with dips. You can also buy pre-prepared carrot sticks and the like.

If in doubt I'd say the tin of peas is better than no veg at all so any little thing like that you can get into your diet probably helps.
posted by koahiatamadl at 10:28 AM on August 27, 2009

I think salads are eay, and totally healthy as long as you watch your dressing. I like them because you can create lots and lots of combination so it doesn't get old very quickly. If prep isn't your thing, you can buy pre-chopped/diced vegetables at the supermarket. It's more expensive, but it saves you the prep time.

(Because I'm lazy AND cheap: I buy the vegetables but do all the prep work myself at once. Sunday nights? chop up carrots, broccoli, bell paper, whathaveyou and put them in small containers in my fridge. I usually even cook and dice some chicken breasts, too). It's still prep work, but if you do it all at once then you can just grab-and-go throughout the week.

also, you can buy sauces (think pasta sauce) that have full servings of vegetables in them - they usually advertise this right on the label.
posted by nuclear_soup at 10:29 AM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Waxboy and Jaltcoh:

My impression is that not all vegetables are created equal. I really don't see myself cutting up an assortment of vegetables - does a lot of carrots really = peppers = cucumbers = celery??

What about eating just one thing for a week? Would that be enough?
posted by Salamandrous at 10:30 AM on August 27, 2009

This may seem really obvious (although it wasn't to me until someone pointed out it, which is why I'm proceeding) but is there a salad bar anywhere near you? Grocery store? Buffet restaurant? That's a goldmine for cleaned and prepped fresh vegetables that can be used outside of salads.
posted by EvaDestruction at 10:30 AM on August 27, 2009

Nthing raw veggies & hummus (or insert your favorite dressing here). My wife usually prepares herself 5 ziplock baggies of veggies (bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots - only prep is slicing peppers & washing everything) every Sunday night for the work week. She takes one bag and a tupperware of hummus each day, and ta-da: 2 servings of veggies for lunch every day. Combine with a can of V8 and she's all set.

We also usually do a salad with dinner every night - and to be honest, its one of those bag salads + sliced carrots/broccoli/cucumber. Without the extra veggies - its basically 0 prep: empty salad into bowl, pour dressing, enjoy.
posted by ish__ at 10:31 AM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oops, to clarify, I mean, for example, eating peppers every day for a week. How many peppers per day?
posted by Salamandrous at 10:31 AM on August 27, 2009

Something that smoothies and other "prepared" fruit and vegetable products lack is fiber. I think that products advertising "a full serving of vegetables!" on them imply that, say, a whole serving of carrots was used to make the product and not that it's as healthy as eating a bag of carrots.

I would go with either the party tray of veggies (crudites, if you want to be fancy about the name) or a microwave-in-the-bag frozen option. Tzatziki is good for dipping.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:32 AM on August 27, 2009

I will say that cheap and tasty does not combine well with minimal prep because you are paying more money for the pre-prepared stuff (whether it's cooked for you or simply washed/cut). Frozen is good for a lot, but I get pretty sick of frozen veggies after a while when that's my primary source of veggies.

In general, the darker green the veggies have more nutrients. But how long of a trip it took and its growing conditions also matter. Googling nutrient info should give you a general idea.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 10:34 AM on August 27, 2009

V8 V-Fusion - vegetables that taste like fruit! I'm particularly partial to the Pomegranate Blueberry and Acai Mixed Berry. One 8 oz glass contains one fruit serving and one vegetable serving.
posted by candyland at 10:34 AM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Frozen vegetables really are a great option for what you're looking for. Go to your local restaurant supply store -- for about 7 bucks you can get a huge bag of assorted mixed veggies (they have "asian blend", "mediterranean blend", etc). If you're willing to use the stove, heat a skillet over medium high, add a little oil or butter and dump in some vegetables straight from the bag (still frozen). Cook, stirring, until a little browned and tender. Add some water if you think they're not cooking quickly enough.

If you don't want to use the stove, I'm sure they microwave pretty well, too.
posted by rossination at 10:34 AM on August 27, 2009

And try this for a description of USDA-defined serving sizes. Five light bulbs' worth of peppers would be the answer, I think.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:35 AM on August 27, 2009

I liked the book SuperFoods Rx for recommendations about what vegetables to eat, serving sizes, recipes, etc.
posted by EvaDestruction at 10:35 AM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

I had a roommate who had a habit of grabbing vegetables out of the fridge--bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, a handful of lettuce--and munching on them as you would an apple. It'd piss me off, because it was usually my food, but I find myself doing this pretty often. I recommend washing first, and a sprinkle of salt isn't bad.

With a bag of pre-washed lettuce, a container of grape tomatoes, some baby carrots and a bottle of dressing, you can throw a salad together in under a minute.

One big vegetable feast at one meal isn't as healthy as lighter servings spread out through the day. You can also get fiber and good nutrients from fruits, which are conveniently portable and come packaged in a natural casing.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:44 AM on August 27, 2009

What about eating just one thing for a week? Would that be enough?

You can do that, but I guarantee that it's going to do odd things to your digestion. In fact, I generally try to eat as many unprocessed, uncooked vegetables as I can, in addition to or in place of things like, say, smoothies. It's not because I'm a raw foodist or anything like that, but because I'd rather be regular. The fiber you get from vegetables is pretty important for that.

Many grocery stores sell fresh veggies pre-chopped these days. All you have to do is throw them in a colander and rinse them before eating.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:45 AM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

I know that preparing many different veggies can seem like a chore. If I were you, I'd experiment with freezing: buy a bunch of bell peppers, say, chop 'em up, and then freeze most of them in a ziplock. Put the rest in single-serve snack ziplock bags. Eat only peppers that week.

The next week, buy a bunch of carrots and chop them up. Then take out some of your pre-frozen bell peppers, mix them with your carrots, and make up your week's single-serve bags. Freeze the rest of the carrots.

The next week, add... cauliflower? Who knows. Play around. Some things will freeze well, others won't, but you'll never have invested too much!
posted by wyzewoman at 10:48 AM on August 27, 2009

Vegetable juices aren't the same as vegetable smoothies. A smoothie has much more fibre in it than a juice, by virtue of the fact it's the whole vegetable, not just the watery bits. Keep that in mind if you go down the V8 route.

Different veg have different levels of vitamins, minerals, fibre, etc. Try to eat as big a variety as you can, to cover all the bases.

Also, how much prep is too much? I've made my own versions of those freezer-to-microwave bags in the past, from big bags of mixed veg. They take about 10 seconds each to make, and if you buy the mixed vegetables, you just pour and seal. I do mine while watching TV, so I don't really notice that I'm doing them. But I am cheap, first and foremost, and refuse to pay the cost of the ready made bags. The extra outlay might be worth it for you to avoid the fiddling.

My local cake shop/bakery has a healthy section, and I can buy a tub of whatever veg/croutons/pasta I want for a couple of quid. The only prep involved is scooping the stuff out of the bowl, and it's a good way to try veg I don't like very much.

You could even make soup, perhaps? Boil veg in water, blend and serve. It's quick and convenient, and if you buy a bag of mixed veg, no chopping. Though you would have to wash the blender, so perhaps that's not such a good idea.
posted by Solomon at 10:53 AM on August 27, 2009

I've heard that it is important to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Here are a few suggestions that I just googled.
posted by aniola at 10:59 AM on August 27, 2009

Oh, one more thing... Some people have suggested those frozen veggies in a bag. Yes, frozen veggies generally require being cooked, but here's one exception: frozen peas. Buy them and just eat them as a snack. I learned this trick from my little brother, who was about 10 years old at the time. It struck me as odd and kid-like, but it's also delicious and healthy.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:01 AM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Grilled vegies are easy and taste good. You don't even need a BBQ, just a grill pan. I buy bags of mixed red/yellow/orange peppers at Costco. Wash them (rinse them off), toss with some olive oil and spices, throw on the grill. Turn when they've reached your desired level of char. Works with zucchini, tomatoes, etc.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:07 AM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Waxboy and Jaltcoh:

My impression is that not all vegetables are created equal. I really don't see myself cutting up an assortment of vegetables - does a lot of carrots really = peppers = cucumbers = celery??

What about eating just one thing for a week? Would that be enough?

I don't know.

I don't know if eating the same vegetable relentlessly would be as good as eating a variety or if you'd be missing out on certain nutrients or potentially leading to problems along the lines PhoBWanKenobi pointed out.

But I do know one thing that is almost 100% guaranteed to be a very smart, healthy thing to do: eating a wide variety of vegetables. Bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower -- all of those and much more! So I would lean toward eating lots of different vegetables, rather than, say, eating lots of bell peppers every day to the exclusion of any other vegetables.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:08 AM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Also, if you have a food processor, you might be able to get an attachment that will chop the veg for you. I have one that is basically a flat disk with a blade on it, raised by about 1/8th of an inch. It can completely chop a carrot in about 5 seconds flat.
posted by Solomon at 11:12 AM on August 27, 2009

Would 3 cans of v8 a day really do it?

Dunno (anybody?), but the lazy way I eat veggies (usually carrots, sometimes with broccoli stalks) is by juicing them. (And I steam those broccoli crowns.)
posted by Rash at 11:18 AM on August 27, 2009

Also, don't eat carrots all the time or you could become a carrot addict.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:21 AM on August 27, 2009

Oops, to clarify, I mean, for example, eating peppers every day for a week. How many peppers per day?

It doesn't really work that way. Peppers are healthy, sure, but they don't contain the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Nothing does. That's why everyone keeps going on about a balanced, varied diet.
posted by Dysk at 11:25 AM on August 27, 2009

In fact, look at the nutrition chart at the bottom of Jaltcoh's link - you'll see that carrots (as an example) have loads of vitamin A, some vitamin C, and a little calcium, but 0% for all the others. That's not necessarily entirely typical, but nothing will be high in all of them.
posted by Dysk at 11:28 AM on August 27, 2009

My go to snack food lately has been small bags of sugar or snap peas. They usually cost about a buck or so each here. No more work than a bag of potato chips! They're good, they're fresh, and they have that satisfying crunch.
posted by cgg at 11:29 AM on August 27, 2009

You may find the Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables helpful.

Serving sizes vary depending on the fruit or veg. Generally it's about one medium-sized fruit, 1/2 cup of chopped veg, or a cup of leafy veg. Canada's food guide has a more detailed chart.

I don't think eating one big bunch of veg a week would be very good for you. You need the nutrients in veg to help with a number of things your body does, and I'm pretty sure that the more you integrate veg into your meals, the better your digestion, energy, and immunity are going to be.

I understand your feelings, but if nutrients and/or money are at the top of your priorities, you should aim to get most of your veg fresh or frozen, and be willing to do a little preparation yourself. If you start to break up the ways you can prepare veg into minimum, minor, and major preparation, you can select more heavily from less prep while still occasionally delving into more prep without feeling like you do nothing with your free time but chop.

Minimum preparation: all fresh veg you don't peel should at minimum be washed.

-apples, grapes, bananas, fresh berries (no prep, travel well)
-squash (cut in half, roast till soft, travels well)
-carrots, celery, radishes, green beans (fresh), snap peas (fresh) (can be eaten whole and raw, with dip for flavour, travel well)
-olives (no prep, travel okay if you have a good container)
-frozen veg: most can be boiled or steamed for a few minutes either on the stove or in the microwave. My favourite is soy beans: boil, add salt to outside, suck beans out of salt shell. This is a good appetizer in Japanese and Korean restaurants as well.
-canned tomatoes can turn into soup with a hand blender, some chicken or veg stock, a little salt and pepper, and maybe finish with some dill and sour cream. Or, add frozen spinach, peas, and corn and a little pasta to make a much fuller soup. Get a can of crushed tomatoes and forgo the hand blender entirely.

Minor preparation: some cutting involved. Note: peels are usually good for you, so you can cut down on prep and increase the nutritional value by leaving the peels on.

-Cucumbers can be easily cut into strips (can be added to the no-cut veg with dip, travels well).

-Roasted root veg (beets, carrots, turnips, parsnips etc.): cut into one inch pieces (for cylindrical) or into quarters (for round), add some juice, cover, and roast till soft. Play around with spices and liquids if you get adventurous. Cooking onions cut into quarters are relatively easy and make sweet wonderful combos with other roasted veg. As long as everything is about the same size, you can mix and match without too much difficulty. These are better hot than cold, mostly, so more of a dinner thing

-Other roasted veg: eggplant, beans, summer squash, just about anything can be roasted with minimal preparation. Look up cooking times and oil/flavour suggestions for non-root veg (root veg is generally pretty forgiving, just cook it till it's done).

-Fresh tomatoes and peppers can be cut into edible sized chunks for salad or dipping. Cut both in half. With peppers, I pull out the seeds then slice from the bottom up for dipping (which is easier than longways because your knife doesn't slide off as much). For tomatoes, about four slices longways and four across will do you for a chunky salad or salsa.

-green onions: peel off any sad looking stuff on the outside, and chop from bottom up. Use in cooking or salad. Some people enjoy them whole with dip. I might be one of those people. You might not, who knows?

-cabbage: if you chop it in half and then slice thin pie slices, it will shred itself. Add to soups or make coleslaw (requires more intensive shredding of carrots with, probably, a box grater, so this would be something to do less often). Bonus: peel off the outside leaves and you don't really have to wash the inside ones (NB: I'm not an expert, public health people may disagree).

Major preparations: (We're still not talking complicated veg dishes here, but these are the things it can be harder to chop/prepare)

-cooking onions: a pain in the ass to chop. To make it a little easier: cut in half and then peel, peel onion if the skin won't come off (better a little discarded onion than going crazy making dinner, right?) Bigger cuts are easier than small ones, so pick recipes with "chopped" onions over "minced" ones. Choose medium-sized onions, which are much easier to deal with.

-Stuff that needs seeding, peeling, or great attention to the size/shape of the cut (this is usually more of a recipe thing than a veg-specific thing)

-leafy veg: usually this is a problem because of the delicacy of the leaves and the need to clean them carefully. When I realized that lettuce was the main reason I didn't want to make salad, I started making salad without lettuce. It was an amazing difference :) If you start preparing your own veg, it will start getting easier, and you may find that there are reasons to keep leafy veg around. So for then: you can buy prewashed, but this gets expensive. You can wash it yourself and put it on a clean dish towel, which works way better than paper towel and is less a pain in the ass to clean and store than a salad spinner. Getting leafy greens from local sources will probably help them last longer (they got to you sooner, and with less bumping), and some kind of refridgerator-specific container could help (I use Tupperware Fridgesmart and have had local lettuce last upwards of a month with no discernible wilting or gross slime).

Hope that helps. Remember, soups and sauces are an easy way to add veg with little effort. Even if you buy a prepared soup or sauce, you can probably toss in a few frozen veg to up the content and colour variation.

Good luck!
posted by carmen at 1:01 PM on August 27, 2009 [3 favorites]

posted by karizma at 1:36 PM on August 27, 2009

I'm in the "don't like to cook, vegetables pretty interchangeable, should eat them though" camp, too. Here's what I do.

1) Go to the grocery store, get some potatoes, cabbage, onions, carrots, canned corn, canned black beans, celery, maybe spinach, etc.

2) Come home, wash it, minimally chop it (all vegetables end up diced, since that's all I really know how to do).

3) Throw it all in an enormous pot of water, add some salt and pepper, turn the heat to low-medium so it simmers, cover it, and go dick around on metafilter for 45 mins or an hour.

That's all, now I have a nice big ol' pot of boiled vegetables. I'll eat some, and put the rest in two big tupperware containers. Then I'm set for the week: come home from work, spoon some "soup" (well, boiled vegetables) into a bowl and then microwave it. Maybe an hour or two once a week to prepare, and then 5 mins to make a good serving of vegetables thereafter.

If I'm feeling especially frisky I'll toss in some raw chicken breast before I put in the vegetables, let it simmer for 45 mins or an hour so it cooks, shred it, and then toss in the vegetables and let them go for another 45 mins.
posted by losvedir at 3:16 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

A huge batch of mirepoix, a bucket of baby spinach, and fresh tomatoes have been my go-to veggies for most of the summer. I'm eating other veggies and fruit, but I have these every day with little effort.

Mirepoix: Chop any or all of the veggies from this list: onions, leeks, celery, sweet peppers, carrots, celery. Gently cook in a pan with some oil until they're slightly browned and almost meltingly sweet. Put this in the fridge and use within the week.

Spinach: Buy a bucket of baby spinach, or maybe just a bag. Keep it in the fridge.

Tomatoes: Grow your own, or get the best possible from the market or store. You're going to eat these like candy.

You now have ready veggies for a couple of meals a day.

Breakfast: heat up some mirepoix with a little extra oil, add beaten egg and/or egg white, and a handful of spinach torn up or cut. If you like, add a little cheese and some sliced tomato. Cover and cook on gentle heat. Ta-dah -- frittata!

Lunch/Supper: brown some sliced meat or chicken in a pan with a little oil, but take it out before it's cooked through. Add some mirepoix, then a measure (quarter or half a cup) of quick cooking grain like basmati rice, bulgur or quinoa and stir to toast and coat with oil. Add twice as much broth as dry grain, add back in the meat, and put in a lot of torn or shredded spinach (it reduces a lot). Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and this will cook through in less than 10 minutes.

Dessert: pop cherry tomatoes in your mouth and explode them with your teeth. Cut larger tomatoes in two, add a little salt and pepper, or make a olive oil/balsamic vinegar combo, then dip, season and eat out of hand like an apple -- a dripping, tasty, amazing apple.
posted by maudlin at 3:44 PM on August 27, 2009

I'm all about the cauliflower. Buy a head, run it under some water top and bottom, then just cut the florets off the stem into tangerine-sized bits. Pop them in a Ziploc and store in the fridge. Then whenever you want you can grab one, and peel the little florets off it with your fingers...dip in dip or whatever, or just eat them plain. Mmmmcrunchy and easy.
posted by bink at 3:52 PM on August 27, 2009

I go to Sam's Club, buy a tub of mixed baby greens for 3.99 and eat that. They also sell great big bags of frozen veg-their Bird's Eye green beans are particularly good.

I also own a freestanding steamer cooker and it's worth its weight in gold, I just throw in broccoli or carrots, steam away, and voila, veg.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:46 PM on August 27, 2009

A crazy easy trick I have to get some extra veggies into a really lazy or short-on-time day is to make boxed mac and cheese (one brand in particular, from Target, is super easy for this because it tells you how much water to use, rather than to use water to cook the pasta and then drain it--but this will go for any kind of pasta dish, really), but while the water is coming to a boil, I add frozen spinach and let it cook with the pasta and sauce. I have also done it with broccoli and kale, but you could probably get even more creative than that.
posted by so_gracefully at 5:46 PM on August 27, 2009

Are you near a Trader Joe's? They have a good variety of prepared veggies, at not-outrageous prices (snap peas, celery sticks, carrot sticks, bagged lettuce, sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower you can steam right in the bag). (I compare them to the outrageous prices for cut carrots at Whole Foods.)

In general, I think the rules are:

1) eat raw whenever possible; second best is fresh steamed (which you can do in microwave); third best is frozen cooked in steam or sauteed; boiled or canned do not preserve the nutrients very well

2) eat a wide variety of colors of vegetables

The only way I find I can eat the recommended amount and fit it into my schedule is to juice veggies (kale, cucumber, cabbage, carrot, celery, red pepper) in the morning for breakfast and eat a salad (bagged spring mix or baby spinach) for lunch and/or dinner. I don't really have time to cook veggies. Although I do steam broccoli or cauliflower in the bags in the microwave from the grocery store and dress them with some seasoned rice vinegar. Takes about 3 minutes.

I avoid V-8 because the sodium level is so high.
posted by slo at 6:08 PM on August 27, 2009

Would 3 cans of v8 a day really do it?

There's 480 mg of sodium in one serving of V8-- 20% of your daily recommended value.

3 of those is 60% and doesn't factor in anything else you'd eat that day.

I didn't care much for the low-sodium V8, but YMMV.
posted by Ziggy Zaga at 7:13 PM on August 27, 2009

I like those brocco-slaw bags. Like cole slaw but with broccoli. You can freeze them in tupperware containers and then break them off in chucks to throw in soups or stir-fries.

Also, Williams Sonoma has a great vegetable chopper gadget that has a crank handle. Just put in large pieces of things, crank the handle and it will all be chopped. Put in a chuck of cucumber, half a pepper and a handful of lettuce or spinach, crank it up and voila, instant salad.
posted by JoannaC at 9:31 PM on August 27, 2009

V8 V-Fusion - vegetables that taste like fruit! I'm particularly partial to the Pomegranate Blueberry and Acai Mixed Berry. One 8 oz glass contains one fruit serving and one vegetable serving.

I hate to be the one to do this since I, too, like the taste of V8 fusion but it's nothing like regular V8 in terms of vegetables. Remember, not all fruit and vegetables are created equal. Regular V8 has tomatoes, beets, celery, carrots, lettuce, parsley, watercress, and spinach (although it's mostly tomato). The vegetables in the Pomegranate Blueberry fusion that you like are as follows: sweet potatoes and carrots. Yes, sweet potatoes and carrots. Plus a lot of tasty, tasty fruit juice (read: sugar).

So v8 fusion isn't really where you want to go for your vegetables. Fruit juices taste good but it's very, very, very sugary without much vegetable benefit.
posted by Justinian at 12:12 AM on August 28, 2009

Blender! This is the laziest, quickest and best way to get all your veggies down in one gulp. You get all the fiber and goodies. You don't even have to chew!

Get a good blender that will do hard and frozen stuff, and you're sorted. If you like banana, add half a banana and the whole thing will taste like banana. Example: 1 carrot, 1 cube frozen spinach, 1 stalk of celery, 1 bell pepper, 1/2 banana and some juice/water/milk. Add some flax seed oil and natural yoghurt if you want to radiate. Blend the hell out of it, pour the mixture into a beer glass and skull it like it's a drinking game. That's your daily intake right there!
posted by heytch at 4:23 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

You'll also get more nutrition per vegetable if you get fresh vegetables that are in season, or so I'm told. Frozen would be next-best after in-season.
posted by aniola at 6:19 PM on August 28, 2009

Wow, thank you so much everybody. I'm already trying some of the suggestions - I found a nice dip that's lighter than hummus (a concern because it's so hard not to finish the whole tub) and also kind of spicy, and grape tomatoes are a great idea.

Is the fiber in the fruits/veggies important as part of them, or just as fiber? Because in general I think I get plenty of fiber.

Also, to what extent is it possible to eat a LOT of fruits and veggies in a day and have that carry you through the next half week - does it work like that?

It was really useful to have the importance of variety reiterated to me. I always feel like cucumber, for example, doesn't really count as a vegetable, since it's sort of like watermelon which is all water-y and seems way too tasty to really be healthy, and like I really ought to be eating something like spinach instead.

Thank you!
posted by Salamandrous at 7:20 PM on August 29, 2009

Juliet Banana, I found something that seems like a premade version of what you described - it comes in a big can and it's called something like "Southern Style Kale" (they also have greens, and I forget what else). I just opened the can and heated it up - perfect!
posted by Salamandrous at 7:22 PM on August 29, 2009

Here's the nutritional info. on cucumber.

Is the fiber in the fruits/veggies important as part of them, or just as fiber? Because in general I think I get plenty of fiber.

Are you sure you're getting plenty of fiber? Most people don't, and if you're not eating lots of fruits and vegetables, the only sources would be whole grains, nuts, or beans, really. Googling "the importance of dietary fiber" will lead you to a lot of links. Anyway, eating fiber in meals generally is a good idea because it slows down digestion, allowing your body to better absorb nutrients. Fibrous foods are also more satiating--you won't get hungry as soon.

Also, to what extent is it possible to eat a LOT of fruits and veggies in a day and have that carry you through the next half week - does it work like that?

Again, binging on one type of food one day and abstaining during the week is going to do weird things to your body. We're meant to eat plenty of plant stuff on a daily basis
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:34 PM on August 29, 2009

« Older How to buy a bike?   |   What would you focus piano practice on if you... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.