Today, On The Blog, we are talking vegetables! It is very common that we hear our clients struggling to incorporate vegetables into their diet. Vegetables can be an excellent addition to any meal to boost your intake of vitamins, minerals, fiber and more. Cooking vegetables in an air fryer can be an easy way to get more vegetables on your plate.
It is our hope that you find practical ways to add more vegetables to your diet that are flavorful, nutritious and keep you on your journey toward improved health. Let’s get started!
In article, you will learn about:
- Starchy vs. Non-starchy vegetables
- Key factors for weight loss and improved health
- Caloric differences in foods
- Many different recipes to cook frozen vegetables in the air fryer
As we mentioned, vegetables are a fantastic way to fill your plate with flavor and nutrition. Before we talk about the delicious air fryer frozen vegetables recipes, let’s talk about the two groups of vegetables – starchy and non-starchy.
Non-starchy veggies are going to be the fiber filled varieties that are also lower in carbohydrates. See the lengthy list of non-starchy vegetables from the American Diabetes Association, which are also listed below.
We know this list can be overwhelming and clients find themselves asking “Do I seriously have to eat all these to be healthy?” Absolutely not! A key factor in improving your health is taking a personalized approach.
We frequently suggest to patients to print this list and circle the vegetables they like and also a few they would be willing to try. Give this approach a try too! It is a great way to customize the list to you and your preferences.
- Amaranth or Chinese spinach
- Artichoke hearts
- Baby corn
- Bamboo shoots
- Beans (green, wax, Italian)
- Bean sprouts
- Brussels sprouts
- Cabbage (green, bok choy, Chinese)
- Greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip)
- Hearts of palm
- Pea pods
- Salad greens (chicory, endive, escarole, lettuce, romaine, spinach, arugula, radicchio, watercress)
- Squash (cushaw, summer, crookneck, spaghetti, zucchini)
- Sugar snap peas
- Swiss chard
- Water chestnuts
The key difference between the two types of vegetables is the carbohydrate content. See the list below that includes vegetables with higher amounts of carbohydrates:
- Winter squash
- Sweet potatoes
- Kidney beans
- Pinto beans
- Black beans
Wondering which vegetables are best to incorporate to meet your health goals? Talk to a Dietitian here!
Why Eat More Vegetables?
It is no secret that adding more vegetables to your diet is beneficial in numerous ways – from more nutrients to less calories.
The American Diabetes Association recommends the infographic below as an eating style for people with diabetes. If everyone did this (not just people with diabetes), we would all feel so much better! Of course, your plate doesn’t have to look exactly like this, but you want the amounts of foods on your plate to be similar.
Vitamins and minerals are essential for keeping your body healthy. All cells in our bodies need nutrients to work efficiently. Increased consumption of vegetables can improve your:
- Immune system
- Mental status
- Energy levels
Comparing vegetables to other foods we eat, you’ll quickly realize the caloric difference. In fact, a ½ cup cooked vegetables is approximately 25-35 calories, and only 5-8 g carbs. Can you believe that?
- ½ cup mashed potatoes without milk or butter (just cooked and mashed potatoes) = 80 calories, 15 g carbs.
- 1 slice of bread = 80 calories, 15 g carbs
- 8 oz (1 cup) 1% milk = 100 calories, 12 g carbs
- 10 baked French fries= 120 calories, 20 g carbs
- 3 oz chicken (approx. size of deck of playing cards) = 130 calories, 0 g carbs
Imagine the difference in the amount of calories you could have in your meals if you swap veggies for some of your other foods in your meals.
Vegetables are key – more fiber, vitamins, minerals and less calories.
We have seen big changes in patients by simply increasing vegetables!
But it seems too easy right? For many people, to lose weight… IT IS REALLY THAT EASY. Start small. One step at a time.
Do you get bored with vegetables?
Vegetables are meant to have flavor and be enjoyed. Here are some of the top ways our clients add more vegetables to their meals:
Switch up flavors
Try lemon, fresh garlic, fresh herbs, sea salt, ranch, buffalo, spicy peppers or other seasonings/ foods that you don’t eat often. Go to the spice aisle in the grocery store and stand for a few minutes to look for a seasoning or blend that sounds interesting.
Switch up cooking methods
- Sauté vegetables
- Eat raw vegetables
- Use an Instant pot
- Steam your veggies
Mix and match
Try something new by going to the grocery store and picking up a veggie or two that you usually don’t eat then pair with your favorite vegetables.
While we are all about delicious ways to boost flavor in your vegetables, here are accidental ways that often add too many calories to your diet:
- Cheese (100+ cal/ ¼ cup)
- Oil (100+ cal/ Tablespoon)
- Breading (100+ cal/ ¼ cup)
- Eating more starchy vegetables than non-starchy
Still stuck? Talk to a Dietitian here and we can come up with more specific ideas together!
Air Fryer Vegetable Recipes
Now for what we have all been waiting for – easy, popular & yummy vegetable recipes! The recipes below are for cooking frozen vegetables in the air fryer, which is an awesome (and tasty) way to add in more non-starchy vegetables.
- Air Fryer Frozen Broccoli
- Air Fryer Broccoli with Parmesan and Lemon
- Lemon and Garlic Air Fryer Broccoli
Air Fryer Vegetable Mix:
Try frozen mixes such as:
- California mix (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots)
- Normandy Blend (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, and yellow squash)
- Peppers (green, red, yellow and orange bell peppers)
- Root Vegetables (Beets, Turnips, Parsnips, Rutabaga, Sweet potatoes)
- Stir fry mix (Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, Sugar Snap Peas, Red Peppers, Water, Chestnuts, Green Beans)
If you are ready to take the leap and transform your health, check out my Resources Page. I can help you grow & flourish with diabetes!
Springtime Nutrition, LLC was founded on my passion to partner with individuals to eliminate the stress, frustration and overwhelm of changing their nutrition lifestyle. I am committed to supporting you at every step of your journey. Ready to transform your life? Get started today!