Sweet, seasonal fruits are always tempting treats at farmers markets, but don’t forget about all the non-starchy vegetables. Remember, non-starchy vegetables are low in carbohydrates — 1 cup of raw or a half-cup of cooked non-starchy vegetables only contains about 5 grams of carbohydrate per serving. Get creative with how you incorporate non-starchy vegetables into your meals. Try a few of these ideas from top diabetes educators Kelly O’Connor and Susan Weiner.
● Pizza toppings: O’Connor suggests topping a homemade pizza with chopped vegetables like peppers, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms.
● Omelets: Adding vegetables doesn’t have to be time-consuming. “Simply add your favorites, like spinach, to your egg white omelets in the morning,” says O’Connor.
● Vegetable juice: A lower-carbohydrate option over fruit juice, homemade vegetable juice can be just as delicious. Weiner suggests juicing your favorite vegetables for a delicious and nutritious snack.
● Grilled vegetables: “Prepare vegetables in a new way. Grill cauliflower, asparagus, or peppers. They are delicious hot or cold and taste great with a little lemon and pepper,” says Weiner.
● Quesadillas: O’Connor suggests trying a quesadilla. “Quesadillas are a quick and easy way to add chopped vegetables to your diet with a lean protein and low-fat cheese.”
● Sandwiches: Don’t forget to add sliced vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and even peppers to your favorite sandwich.
Snack on it
● Veggie sticks: O’Connor recommends saving time by buying pre-prepped vegetables like carrots, celery, and peppers. “They are great for snacking, dipping in a low-fat ranch dressing, or hummus, and can easily be included in kids’ lunches to encourage them to include these as a regular part of their diet,” she says.
● Sauces: “Adding vegetables to your pasta sauce to make it more substantial is a fantastic way to sneak in some additional vegetables at meals,” says O’Connor.
● Chili, soups, and stews: Adding extra vegetables to your favorite chili, soups and stews is a great way to boost flavor. Weiner recommends preparing lower-calorie and lower-carbohydrate vegetable soups and then freezing in containers, so they are available whenever you need a quick meal.