We all agree that vegetables are good for us. But often it takes some intentionality to change our eating habits to include more. I know that I go through spurts where I'm aware of my eating, and times when I take the easy way out and go for the chips. (Don't potato chips count as a vegetable??)

If you need some suggestions on how to include more vegetables in your diet, you might want to check out this website a friend shared yesterday. Readers' suggestions include keeping vegetables in easy site on a top shelf, cooking (especially roasting) vegetables ahead of time so they're easy to grab on the run, and doubling vegetables at mealtime.

To those I'll add a few of my own.

Remember to include a variety of vegetables on your shopping list. It's hard to eat them if they're not in the fridge. Don't forget frozen and canned for moments when you're short on time. I love canned green beans and they make an easy snack.

Make soup. This is especially easy to do in the winter. You can heave all sorts of vegetables in a soup with the benefit of keeping all of the nutrients in the broth. I've recently modified my mom's vegetable soup recipe to look more like the Sicilian Chicken Soup at Carabbas and it's yummy and easy. If you get on a roll (and you have the freezer space) you can make a large pot of soup every week, put some in the freezer, and after a while have a nice variety to choose from. Or you can just eat from the same pot all week!

Keep a list of interesting salads. I get pretty bored with the standard - lettuce, carrots, tomatoes and cucumber - but often as dinner approaches I have little creativity. Keeping a rotating list of optional salads out where I can see it (and shop for it) is helpful. The reality is, if it's not written down somewhere, I'll default to the same old.

Here's the recipe for a broccoli cauliflower salad that's easy to make as well as a carrot salad that's a favorite. Both can be made ahead.

Broccoli-Cauliflower Salad

Broccoli, cut up into small florets
Cauliflower, cut up into small florets
Red onion, thinly sliced
Cherry/grape tomatoes
Fried bacon, crumbled

1 c mayonaise
2 T sugar
1/4 cup parmessan cheese
1/2 t basil
1 T milk

Add enough dressing to cover salad. Best if mixed a bit ahead so the flavors can blend.

Carrot Salad
3 1/2 c grated carrots
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 garlic clove or 1/2 t chopped garlic
3 T lemon juice
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/2 t salt
fresh ground pepper to taste.

Combine carrots, parsley. Mix remaining ingredients and toss. Keeps well for 2-3 days.

I love writing for myself first. Today, I made sure I stopped to think about what vegetables I was going to add to my grocery list!

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