Friday, October 22, 2010

Vegetables Ruled Today

The Lunch of Veggie Winners

I feel so virtuous. When I told My Beloved, during our dinner of roasted butternut squash soup and cider-baked pears, what I'd had for lunch, I realized that I was having an actual plant based day!

This healthy feat isn't accomplished as often as I would like because, unfortunately, eating multiple servings of vegetables in a day generally requires cooking, which isn't possible or desirable in the middle of most of my days. Unless there are leftovers, the fall back noon veggie option is "baby" carrots, which of course aren't babies at all, but shaved down mature carrots. (I always picture them on some kind of miniature lathe, but I'm sure that's just my fanciful imagination.) Other vegetables could be eaten raw, but they aren't very appealing that way, at least not without a dip that I would feel compelled to make in order to avoid the nasty additives in purchased ones. Even if there are veggie leftovers, I still have to solve the problem of a protein source or be ready for Second Lunch before 3:00. Thus my difficulty in making vegetables a large part of a 5 a Day--or is it 9 a Day?--goal.

Fruits, on the other hand, are much easier to fit in. Many of them are go
od to pack, or grab, and go: bananas, oranges, apples, pears, grapes, etc. But I'm thinking that vegetables are more nutritious, and we all know we need them. It's a matter of actually making it happen.

Somehow today it did. I can't take credit for planning my nutritional success. I just happened to be desirous of making dishes that were chock full of veggies. My latest favorite blogger over at Poor Girl Gourmet (there are so many wonderful lives out there!) wrote about sweet potato-bacon cakes and butternut squash soup, both of which inspired me to duplicate them. With the former left over and the latter on the menu for tonight, I was accidentally blessed with a perfect storm of vegetables and fruits.

So here's my successful rundown of the day.
  • Breakfast: plain Greek yogurt and home made granola
  • Lunch: leftover sweet potato and bacon cake with honeyed sour cream and micro-steamed broccoli
  • Supper: roasted butternut squash soup, foccacia, and cider baked pears
Given the quantities on the broccoli and the butternut squash soup, I think I actually made it to SIX fruit and veggie servings today. Why, if I'd added some fruit to my breakfast bowl, I would have made it to SEVEN! I'm feeling flushed just thinking about it. If that sounds silly, perhaps you haven't counted up your own plant food servings lately. Every time I have in the past, I've come up short. This is a big day.

It may also be a motivating day. Not that I haven't had the good intention to "eat more fruits and vegetables" before. I may get over the whole thing by tomorrow morning, when I tentatively plan to make French toast with sour cream and jam. But if I find a a fruit to throw in there, I still have a chance of another winning day: Lupper (Lunch + Supper = Lupper) will be Mediterranean sandwiches of sauteed odd bits of zucchini, eggplant, and red pepper with feta cheese, so there's hope. If we have fruit for dessert. (OK, second course. My maintenance dose of chocolate is not negotiable.)

See how hard this is for mainline American eaters? It takes real effort and thought to get the amounts of fruits and vegetables that we know are healthy for us. Meat-n-taters abound, but the vegetables and fruits containing those annoyingly necessary little details called vitamins and fiber are hard to come by. And I haven't even talked about eating out. That's almost a lost cause. Just ask my husband how geekily challenged I am to find vegetables on restaurant menus.

I'm sure that with intentional focus, I could pack in those 5 a Day, at least when eating food that I've prepared. But I need something else crying out for my focus like I need a stake in my eye.

Still, we are what we eat. And I want to be healthy for as long as possible. If I don't feed my body well, I won't make that goal. With that motivation and vegetable dishes that are as enjoyable to eat as the aforementioned sweet potato-bacon cakes and roasted butternut squash soup, plus a teensy bit of focus, I could be a...a High Fiver!

Now if vegetables just came with more protein. I need a snack.

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