Want to know what 2 pounds of vegetables a day looks like? You’re in the right place! One day per month I make it my mission to eat at least 2 pounds of vegetables—and share exactly what’s on the menu with you.
Why 2 pounds, you ask? The idea came from Dr. Joel Fuhrman, a preventive nutrition physician who promotes a plant-based “nutritarian” diet for optimal health. Since I’m all about feeling good, dodging disease, and fitting in my skinny(ish) jeans, I’m a fan of his plan! Beyond that, the 2-pound challenge inspires me to pamper myself with a day full of tasty veggies. (Hopefully, it inspires you too!)
To keep myself honest, I weigh my veggies before each meal and list them out for you. I also include a final pounds-and-ounces tally and the day’s nutrition facts (calories, protein, etc.) at the end of the post.
So, are you ready for a day of delicious vegetables? Let’s eat!
Breakfast: Chocolate chip pumpkin pie breakfast bowl
Veggies consumed (6 oz total):
- ¾ c pumpkin (6 oz)
I love any breakfast that tastes like dessert, especially when it’s healthy! (Exhibit A: Hidden-Veggie Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie.) So I’m completely obsessed with my chocolate chip pumpkin pie breakfast parfait, which not only tastes like creamy, dreamy pumpkin pie, but is gluten-free, vegan, and good for you, too. However, since I was ravenous after my early morning walk, I made my 5-minute parfait into a 2-minute breakfast bowl. I also had a tablespoon of CocoWhip topping that didn’t thaw in time for my picture, so I just scarfed it frozen with a spoon.
Lunch: Bunless lentil burger, cucumber-mint salad, and heirloom tomatoes with basil
Veggies consumed (1 lb 4 oz total):
- 1 medium red tomato (6 oz)
- ⅔ large yellow tomato (6 oz)
- ¾ medium cucumber (6 oz)
- diced and sliced red onion (1 oz)
- 4 small romaine leaves (1 oz)
Pretty, no? The tomatoes and basil are straight out of Jeff’s and my garden, though we had to buy the cucumber. (Our cucumber vines, which were terrifyingly prolific mid-summer, stopped producing. Not exactly sure why?)
The sun-dried tomato and spinach lentil burger by No Bull Burgers (ha!) is a new favorite of mine. It’s the closest thing to a homemade burger I’ve ever gotten in the freezer section, and it has impressive stats: 9 grams of whole-food plant protein and only 2.5 grams of fat. I topped it with two kinds of dijon mustard and yet more veggies, then added a few slices of my neighbor’s amazing home-canned pickles.
I wasn’t quite full, so I had a quarter cup of granola along with a few dried cranberries and almonds:
Snack: Stevia-sweetened almond hot cocoa
For a mid-afternoon boost, I had my usual pick-me-up: 45-calorie stevia-sweetened hot cocoa made with almond milk. I didn’t snap a pic, but that’s just as well, because to get it really smooth requires a blender, which I never use. Needless to say, my lazy version doesn’t exactly make love to the camera.
Dinner: White peach salad with fig vincotto vinegar, pumpkin mac n’ cheeze, kale, and “cheater” baked beans
Veggies consumed (8.5 oz total):
- ¼ c pumpkin in cheeze sauce (2 oz)
- ~1 c steamed kale (3 oz)
- large handful spring mix (1.5 oz)
- ¼ cucumber – not pictured (2 oz)
Dinner was all about comfort food! The salad couldn’t be easier: Just top spring mix with perfectly ripe white peaches, blueberries, red onion, and a drizzle of fig vincotto vinegar. (I use Fig Vincotto Vinegar by Gianni Calogiuri.) I also added a sprinkle of ground flax seed (which I forgot until after I’d taken all the pictures, whoops).
Then it was on to gluten-free macaroni with pumpkin mac n’ cheeze sauce using Angela’s recipe from Oh She Glows. (I found it researching recipes for 7 Healthy Gluten-Free, Vegan Pumpkin Recipes.) The sauce was scrumptious! However, if you use nut butter instead of Earth Balance like I did, cut down on the cornstarch by half.
I also had steamed kale and lazy-person, “cheater” baked beans: Mix 2 Tbsp of barbecue sauce per cup of beans and heat. (Note that I didn’t count the beans as a veggie in the final count; I treated them like a protein.)
I must say: Eating the macaroni, kale, and barbecue beans altogether tasted amazing. I highly recommend it!
Oh, and I ate the rest of the cucumber salad from lunch while I was prepping dinner. That helped keep me out of the pumpkin cheeze sauce, which I was ready to devour with a spoon![True confession, though: The first set of dinner pictures that I took came out so awful that I couldn’t bear to post them! I mean, I want people to eat more vegetables, and these pictures would not have helped the cause. 😉 (I ran out of daylight; not good.) So while this day of food is from Friday the 18th, I recreated the dinner this Sunday evening (minus the salad), right down to the same portion sizes, and took new pictures that weren’t terrible. Bonus: I got to have mac n’ cheeze again!]
Evening snack: Mac n’ cheeze and an apple
Veggies consumed (1 oz total):
- ⅛ c pumpkin in cheeze sauce (1 oz)
I had a snack attack at 9:30, but took no pictures because I was tired. I will say, though: Apple slices and mac n’ cheeze taste great together!
The final tally
Not only did I meet my 2-pound vegetable goal, but I had a fun food day! I enjoyed healthy versions of my very favorite comfort foods, all while packing in the veggies. And I had one of the yummiest, prettiest salads I’ve made to date—which was lucky, because I came up with it at the last minute.
As you can see from my nutrition stats, I got everything I need—and then some. So to everyone who worries about getting enough protein, calcium, and iron on a plant-based diet…take note. 🙂 (Look Ma, no protein powder!)
Of course, if you’re not used to eating lots of vegetables, it’s best to increase intake gradually to keep your insides happy! (Interestingly, eating more vegetables is linked to overall happiness as well.) However, if you have a health condition, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor or dietitian before making big dietary changes. That said, even moderately increasing veggie intake is good for most people. So if 2 pounds of vegetables a day isn’t your thing, know that every little bit helps.
Hope this has given you some ideas for working more veggies into your day.