One of the worst parts about “dieting” is the deprivation!  Hi, I’m Elizabeth Girouard of Pure Simple Wellness — emotional eating expert and health coach.  I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to feel like you are missing out on every fun summer cocktail and yummy dessert to lose weight and feel great!

One of my favorite strategies for weight loss and healthy eating is to ‘crowd in’ healthier foods, rather than to remove foods from your diet. Pulling out foods or food groups can be frustrating and feel very restrictive. Feeling restricted can lead to bingeing on junk food and the all or nothing mindset around food.

Instead, crowd in more veggies into your daily routine to increase your vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and fiber intake. If you aren’t thrilled with the taste of veggies – I’m here to change that! Check out these cooking hacks to make your vegetables taste great so you can increase your nutrient intake while crowding out some of the less healthy foods each day.

Crisp up your veggies. Coat your vegetables with a drizzle of oil, garlic, salt and pepper and roast them in the oven. They’ll come out extra crispy and delicious. One of my favorites are Brussels sprouts! You can also stir-fry them in the pan— usually, they’ll turn out just as crispy and in half the time. An air fryer can give you those crispy veggies with just a drop of olive oil, and they’ll still taste amazing.

Add seasoning. Most foods taste bland without any seasoning. Along with the classic salt and pepper, garlic or onion powder goes well most vegetables. Create different spice blends to cater to whatever cuisine you’re feeling— Greek, Mexican, Moroccan, Indian— the possibilities are endless. If you don’t have time to make them, purchase a premade organic blend such as Spice Islands. Here are a few links to my favorite spices:

Don’t limit your seasoning to dried spices. Fresh herbs like thyme and rosemary are an excellent accompaniment to your veggies. Coconut aminos or tamari sauce taste delicious when drizzled over your veggies.

Mix your veggies. Dips such as guacamole, hummus, or ranch are great ways to eat your veggies because the flavor of the dip will take the flavor up a notch. Eggs taste even better with lots of colorful veggies as well. If you’re making a marinade for your main meal, why not marinate your veggies as well. If you eat dairy, top your veggies a bit of grated cheese to elevate the taste. There are also many different types of dairy-free cheese available.

Experiment with new vegetables. Get adventurous next time you’re at the grocery store. If you are bored with the same old veggies, maybe it’s time to try something new. There’s so much more out there than just carrots, broccoli and lettuce. Check what’s in season to get the freshest veggies possible. Veggies have so many different flavors and textures, so there’s bound to be something out there that you like.

If you still don’t enjoy eating your vegetables, try hiding them in other meals. For example, cauliflower, zucchini, and spinach are great additions to your morning smoothie, as the sweet fruits will mask the flavor of the vegetables. Add veggies such as carrots and zucchini to your muffins and banana bread and add mashed veggies into the sauces for chilis and stews. No one will notice and you’ll feel better knowing you have added more veggies into your daily routine!

If you need some inspiration for recipes for healthy eating, join our free Simple Healthy Recipes Facebook Group where we share simple, allergen friendly and delicious recipes. Recently we shared recipes for a simple sheet pan blueberry salmon, crispy chickpea snacks, and Portobello mushroom tacos!

* Any links provided are for products I personally use. I may receive a small compensation from your order, but it will not impact the price you pay.