Category Archives for "Vegetables"

3 Steps for Learning to Prep (and Love) Your Veggies [Infographic]

Sick of hearing how good vegetables are because you just don't like them? You haven't tried this!

by Dean Carlson


You know that eating plants is not only good for you, but necessary for optimal health and fitness. Yet ask how many people actually eat vegetables (more than a couple times a week) and you get crickets. Check this voodoo out. It's a 3-step formula created by some genuine ar-teeests when it comes to delicious food, James Heather and Jennifer Nickle. Resistance Is Futile!


It's no secret that just about every nutrition strategy out there, from Paleo to Vegan and everything in between has one thing in common:

Eat Your Veggies Already!​

But just because you know they are good for you it doesn't mean you are eating them, and you know what? I get it.

My recollection of veggies growing up were of soggy green beans, creamed spinach, and lima beans. (My dad loved lima beans, so mom made them. I did everything possible to avoid them, and truth be told still do.)

Part of being a human is that some memories, especially some bad ones, are really hard to get rid of. And when your whole life you had made it your mission to avoid vegetables, it's a hard habit to break.

Good News Alert

Veggies don't have to suck. True story. I used to HATE HATE HATE most vegetables. But I didn't know what I didn't know. HOW you prepare them, flavor them, and even when you eat them can turn a die-hard "vegaphobe" around.

If you are looking to improve your own veggie intake (and you know you probably should be), download the formula for your printer and stick it to your fridge for quick reference.

Again, to remind yourself to step outside your "plant-food" comfort zone, you can download this printable version of the above infographic.

Want more strategies for fine-tuning YOUR nutrition?

Diet's just don't work long term, but finding and sticking to a plan that work for you can be a lot harder than it seems.

That's why here at The Grateful Plate we work one-on-one with our coaching clients to help them find how to make eating healthy work for them and their busy lives. 

Sausage, Sweet Potato & Veggie Skillet

Rockstar Doreen shared this new breakfast hash recipe with me, and let me tell you - it is great! You will love it. It's easy to make, super filling and great for any meal or leftovers. I topped it with eggs for breakfast.

Sausage, Sweet Potato & Veggie Skillet

  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons cooking fat
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Dash red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and toss sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts with 1 tablespoon cooking fat, sea salt and pepper. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the potatoes and Brussels sprouts out evenly.

Bake sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts for 20 to 30 minutes, or until potatoes and sprouts are soft and browning.

While potatoes and sprouts are baking, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add remaining cooking fat. Add the onions and stir, cooking until translucent and soft, then add garlic and red pepper and sprinkle with salt. Remove from pan.

Add sausage to the skillet and cook until brown and crisp, then remove from heat. Combine onions, peppers and sausage back into the skillet, sprinkle with crushed red pepper and stir. Cook until everything is heated through again.

Remove potatoes and sprouts from onion and combine with sausage mixture to serve. It goes great with fried eggs too! Save leftovers and reheat in oven, microwave or skillet.

Healthy Crockpot Breakfast Casserole

This is a hit at my house with my kids and it’s also a hit for me as it’s so quick to prepare. In fact, I prepare it the night before, and then pull the crockpot out of the refrigerator at 4:30am. Its ready to eat when I am. It’s a great medley of sweet potatoes, scrambled eggs, veggies, and bacon – all in one.

Healthy Crockpot Breakfast Casserole

by Coach Nancy

  • 12 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 30-ounce bag sweet potato cubes (or fresh sweet potato cubes cut in chunks)
  • 4 slices cooked bacon
  • ½ onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1 small head broccoli, roughly chopped

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, mustard, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Lightly grease the bottom of the crockpot. Place half the potatoes on the bottom. Layer with half the bacon, onion, bell peppers, and broccoli. Add the other half of the potatoes, then top with the rest of the veggies. Pour the egg mixture on top. Cover and cook for 4 hours on low. Serve it hot!

Quick tip: Riced sweet potatoes and broccoli can be used. Frozen pepper and onion make for a faster prep time as well.

Jash Browns

Rock star Jennifer from Epsom sent this recipe along to me and I love it! Its a great, healthier spin on regular hash browns and you still get the same crisp and crunch. Here is the recipe from Jennifer...

Jash Browns

  • Butter or ghee
  • Jicama, peeled and grated
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 eggs

Heat a dollop of butter or ghee in a skillet on medium high heat until it starts to brown. Add as much grated jicama as you want, spreading it out into a thin layer. Let the jicama fry uncovered so the moisture can escape. Fry for several minutes, flipping once in a while. As the jicama loses its moisture, it will start to get brown. When your jash browns have enough of a sear for your liking, season them liberally with salt and pepper and set them aside to keep warm.

Fry two eggs in some butter in your skillet, season them with salt & pepper, and serve them over the jashbrowns.

*Jennifer's notes: Very easy, I modified it from a cookbook called “Necessary Food”. Since the amount of jicama differs depending on the size, it’s hard to make an exact recipe. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to doing it. Like I said, very easy! I was surprised at how easily jicama shredded and how much there is in one small one! I shredded the whole jicama. Since I didn’t want to eat it all today, I froze the rest. I also added garlic salt to the jicama along with the salt and pepper before freezing. Jashbrowns are very interesting, with a crunchy texture and just a little hint of sweetness. I can’t wait to serve this again.

Zucchini & Summer Squash Sauté

I love adding a little bit of basil to this dish for an extra pop of flavor. Dean’s favorite way to make this is to cook it until the squash is golden brown.

Zucchini & Summer Squash Sauté

by Coach Nancy

  • 2 zucchini, sliced thin
  • 2 summer squash, sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Coconut oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the zucchini and summer squash. Sauté for 10 to 15 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Baked Eggplant Fries

A lot of our recent recipes have been great side dishes, and this one is no exception. The seasonings give the eggplant great flavor and you're still able to get the crispiness of fries that everyone loves by baking them.

Baked Eggplant Fries

by Coach Nancy

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1½ cups almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 

Slice the eggplant into fry shapes (no need to peel the eggplant).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir together the almond meal, rosemary, thyme, paprika, and salt. In a separate shallow dish, stir together the egg and the olive oil.

Dip each eggplant fry into the egg mixture and then roll in the almond meal. Place on the parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning them once. The fries will be done when crispy and browned. Serve right away.

Eat Your Vegetables

Eat veggies. Eat them all the time.

No one denies the power of vegetables. They are a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and come loaded with fiber. But all this goodness comes without a high cost in calories. It’s a win-win that needs to be shouted out more.

Veggies are so good for you that you should be eating them at each meal. Why not set a goal for yourself? Depending on where you are at now, the final goal is to eat between 2 and 3 cups of veggies at each meal. Yep, that is between 6 to 9 cups by the end of the day. No fear if you aren’t there yet, that is what practice is all about. If you eat barely any veggies now, start with one cup at each meal or a total of 3 cups at the end of the day. Slowly increase from there.

The 1 2 3 Veggie Plan

A while ago I was coaching a group to eat more veggies. In fact, I had challenged them to eat veggies at every meal. Glen decided she would make her plan easy to remember and easy for her to follow. She called it the “1 2 3 Plan”. Here is what Glen did. She ate 1 serving of vegetables at breakfast, 2 servings of vegetables at lunch, and 3 more servings at supper. Here is a sample of her day in order to accomplish her 1 2 3 Plan:

At breakfast she made up omelet bars. These were easy for her to reheat before work and still get a meal including her veggies. 1 serving done and in the books.

For lunch she brought Chicken Veggie Pad Thai that she had for dinner the night before. Another 2 servings of veggies for Glen that day.

Finally at dinner, Glen had time to roast vegetables, make a side salad, and serve it alongside a rotisserie chicken that she picked up on the way home.

She did it. The 1 2 3 Veggie Plan.

Of course I wanted to challenge her a bit more after a few days of successfully being on the 1 2 3 plan. So we came up with the 1 2 3 4 Veggie Plan.

The 1 2 3 4 Veggie Plan: 1 vegetable at breakfast, 2 servings of vegetables at lunch, 3 more for dinner, and doing this 4 days each week.

Whether you are challenged with the 1 2 3 plan or increasing the stakes a bit by adding a timeline, eating your veggies will help you to better health.‬‬

To Your Best Health,
Coach Nancy

Cauliflower Rice

This recipe has some great flavors and is a little spin on the basic cauliflower rice. You can always change up the ingredients to suit your taste or the meal it is going with. You can also add ground pork, ground turkey, shrimp, or chicken for a protein source.

Cauliflower Rice

by Coach Nancy

  • 1 head cauliflower, "riced"*
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 3-4 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • Sea salt, to taste

In a large skillet, sauté the garlic in coconut oil over medium heat. Add in the carrots and a splash of water to prevent sticking and cook for 8 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Then add the green onion and egg, which will start to cook quickly.

Add in the cauliflower rice, along with coconut aminos and salt. Stir to combine and heat through, about 4-6 minutes.

Adjust the seasonings to taste, and then serve piping hot! 

*To ‘rice’ cauliflower, run it through a food processor using the grating blade. You can also hand grate the cauliflower if you enjoy a bit more messier approach.

Eat the Rainbow

I know what you are thinking. No, we are not going to talk about Skittles.

So, what does it mean to eat the rainbow?

Simply aim to eat as many “colorful foods” as you can throughout the day. Real food - think fruits and vegetables, not Skittles. Eat green, purple, red, yellow, blue.

Kind of sounds like advice for a child, right? That's good, it should be that simple!

Why is Color Important

Whenever you are about to eat a meal, look down at your plate and ask yourself, “where is the color here?”. You want to be able to easily spot 2-3 different colors every time you eat. This is an indication that you’re eating foods that contain many different nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants.

Nature has a very simple way of letting us know which foods are really healthy and full of nutrients - color.

Close your eyes for a second and try to visualize this: the strong blue/purple color of fresh blueberries, the deep red hue of tomatoes, the bright orange of carrots.

These colors indicate nutrient content and and also the presence of antioxidants, phytochemicals, and other free radical fighting ninjas which are important in slowing the aging process and helping our body deal with inflammation.

Think Lots of Colors

The different colors in fruits and vegetables indicate the different types of antioxidants. There are many types of helpful antioxidants, so you want to make sure you are exposing yourself to a variety by including different colors on your plate. You don’t want to consume only orange and red fruits and veggies while ignoring the greens and yellows. You want a wide variety.

Branch out, eat the rainbow.

Avoid White-and-Beige-Only Meals

A standard unhealthy diet is going to be made up of many white, brown, and beige foods. As you can tell, this means colors (antioxidants) are lacking. If you notice that a lot of the foods on your plate are white (potatoes, rice, cereal, bread, pasta), brown (beef, pork, sausages, heavy sauces) and beige (cheese, processed carbs, low quality chicken and turkey), then it’s time to add some color to your plate in the form of fruits and vegetables.

Remember, every single meal you consume should have noticeable colors in it. Aim to get 2-3 different colors into every meal and you will be on the right track. Once you get the hang of that, think about your day/week as a whole and figure out which colors you might be ignoring (Greens? Reds? Orange? purples?), then start adding more of those kinds in too.

To Your Best Health,
Coach Nancy

Chinese Long Green Beans

If you love garlic, these are for you. If you don't, just don't put it in there! The coconut aminos add a wonderful flavor all by themselves!

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • ½ small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound green beans cut into 3 inch lengths
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon cracked pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned. Add the green beans and stir fry until the beans are slightly softened and browned in spots. Add the water, cover, and cook over low heat until the water has evaporated and the beans are tender. Add the coconut aminos and pepper and cook for 1 more minute. Transfer to a platter and serve.