Any suggestions for vegetables prepared in advance?
I'm sorry if this is a strange question. I am absolutely lacking vegetables in my diet, but it's not because of taste. I am realizing that it is my lifestyle. I have a very hectic life because I am a doctor doing my residency so my hours are crazy and unpredictable. As a result, I eat things that can be grabbed and eaten on the run. I have been really successful with non-fat yogurt cups, fiber one bars, low fat cheese, hard boiled eggs, baggies of sliced strawberries, apples, etc. But I have a really hard time incorporating vegetables into this routine. I do prepare baggies of baby carrots, but haven't gotten farther than that. I guess part of the problem is that I don't love raw vegetables like broccoli and celery. I do love roasted vegetables and salads, but have not had the best luck preparing them in advance (I find the roasted vegetables get soggy and the salad gets a little wilty/stale). Maybe I'm storing them wrong? Anyway, this is all a long winded way of asking if anyone has any ideas about how to incorporate vegetables in a way that I can prepare them in advance and just have them on hand in the fridge? Thanks for any help!!!
It IS very hard to eat enough vegetables with our hectic lifestyles. You might be able to add baggies of cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, cauliflour, baby carrrots, mushroom slices ... the kind of things that you see on a salad bar.
(in fact, you might get them from a salad bar if your grocery has one.)
Lately I've been keeping more of these things on hand to easily throw together a large salad quickly. I also add dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, and shelled sunflower seeds. nuts, etc. I use Wishbone No-Fat Italian dressing ... it's the best one I have found yet. Good luck with your residency!
In grad school, I would chop raw or roasted veggies (broccoli, carrots, onion, cauliflower, bell pepper) and stir them into cream cheese, chicken or tuna salad... I'd keep a bowl of this veginated spread in the fridge and spread it on a tortilla, bagel, toast, crackers... or take it with me in a tupperware container and use it as a dip for crackers.
I also simmered green beans or other veggies in tomato sauce (if I was really in a rush, I'd use spaghetti sauce). I'd portion that into small tupperware containers and for lunch I'd microwave a baked potato with the saucey veggies poured on as a topping. This is still a favorite lunch.
I also like to make a veggie salad from frozen veggies (like california mix) and sometimes add in onion and bell pepper. While it's frozen I mix it with a vinaigrette salad dressing, and let it thaw in the fridge overnight. It was a great grab-and-go salad (just portion out what I wanted in a tupperware container).
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Prep is the key as you agree. (sorry could not help myself)..... I always keep 2 veggie preps in the fridge. One is a raw mix usually of cabbage, grated carrot, cucumber, green onion, and mango (or apple or pineapple) with a mustardy fat free dressing . This can last over a week and be topped with lean protein like chicken chunks, shrimp , tuna, etc. Crushed peanuts and a bit of avocado makes it really good. The point is you can vary the veg and dressing but the KEY is that it is in your fridge ready to pack and go in a little Igloo. The second is a cooked veg soup of some green veg and some orange (carrot, winter squash) and I happen to like shiritaki noodles cuz they give texture but do not absorb more liquid. Lentil soup is also great with tons of chopped greens mixed in. If there is no microwave option the first suggestion of a basically chopped veg salad with protein still works. Good luck busy one!
I just started bring lunch to work to help me eat healthy and to save money. For veggies so far I've had blanched sprouts (seasoned, just like the side dishes in Korean restaurants), roasted/broiled red bell pepper with balsamic vinegar and stir fried boy choy. Another idea is to make a veggie smoothie with your favorite veggies.
You can purchase frozen veggies and microwave them. There are packs of 8 oz of asparagus that are ready to be microwaved...or, split up a larger 1 or 2 pound package of something like frozen broccoli, it can just be microwaved on a plate and be hot and ready to eat within a couple of minutes.
I bring a lot of veggies and fruit to work with me, fresh and raw, in plastic baggies or in containers: Grape tomatoes, spinach, baby carrots, grapefruit, mango, papaya, apples, mandarin oranges, cabbage salad. I also bring cooked veggies from the previous night's dinner, such as stir-fried broccoli, roasted Brussels sprouts, sweet potato.
In fact, I eat most of my veggies and fruit before dinnertime, totaling 7 to 10 servings per day now. I didn't start out eating this much, though! It took me about a year to work up to that level of eating veg/fruit stuff. I think setting a goal of getting 3 veg servings/day to start is reasonable, and starting with the ones you already like is a good strategy.
I use the ziplock steamer bags. This week I am having steamed veggies everyday with lunch. I have green beans, baby carrots, asparagus, and sweet potato ready to go. It's a nice change at lunch for me.