Did you eat at least two to three cups of vegetables yesterday? If you fell short, you're not alone. Nearly nine in ten Americans don't consume the recommended daily amount, which means the majority of us are missing out on invaluable cancer-fighting, heart-helping, weight-controlling benefits. But if boredom or the yuck factor is what's holding you back, there's hope. "While the thought of eating a salad at lunch or a giant plate of steamed veggies at dinner isn't the most appealing choice for many people, there are so many more ways to work vegetables into your day," says nutritionist Stephanie Clarke, RD. You don't have to totally revamp how you eat—Clarke recommends simply cranking up the produce dial on your go-to dishes. Whether you're ready to make a total transformation or just want a subtle tweak, consider this your round-the-clock guide to getting started.


Transform: Oatmeal
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If you balk at the thought of replacing brown sugar and nuts with sautéed kale and Sriracha, think of oatmeal as breakfast risotto, and know that 1 cup of cooked kale supplies more than a week's worth of bone-strengthening vitamin K. For another tasty topper, try filling, heart-healthy sautéed mushrooms and onions with thyme.

Tweak: Pancakes
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Fold ½ cup pumpkin, sweet potato or winter squash puree into every 2 cups pancake batter for a boost of the antioxidant beta-carotene. That's a boon to your vision as well as to your ability to ward off infections and sun damage.


Transform: Wraps
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As wide and sturdy as tortillas, collard greens are so hardy, they can hold almost any filling. (Trim the stems, blanch and dry the leaves, and roll up your favorite fixings, burrito-style.) A rich source of calcium, collards also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep your arteries relaxed, your memory sharp and your mood balanced.

Tweak: Pesto
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Get a greener sandwich with a swipe of DIY spread. In addition to being high in vitamin K, homemade kale pesto has less sodium and fat than traditional store-bought varieties. To make 1 cup, use a food processor to puree 3 cups kale (stems removed); ½ cup grated Parmesan; ¼ cup chopped, toasted walnuts; ¼ cup olive oil; 3 garlic cloves; and ½ teaspoon salt.


Transform: Rice
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Make stir-fry healthier by switching rice for parsnips, a good source of potassium. Research suggests that eating a potassium-rich diet can slash stroke risk by 20 percent. To "rice" this root, use a food processor to finely pulse 2 peeled, chopped parsnips; then sauté with 2 teaspoons coconut oil until soft, about 5 minutes.

Tweak: Comfort food
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If your mom snuck veggies into meatloaf, she was onto something: Shredded carrots or zucchini add moisture and nutrients to meatloaf, meatballs, and burgers without compromising taste. The riboflavin in zucchini helps produce red blood cells, and studies indicate that carotenoids, like those found in carrots, may reduce the risk of certain cancers. Start with ½ cup for every pound of ground turkey or beef.


Transform: Milkshakes
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Sub pureed cauliflower for ice cream to slash calories and saturated fat. (We promise it tastes better than it sounds!) Cauliflower has big benefits: One study found that among women with a greater genetic risk of breast cancer, those who consumed the most cruciferous vegetables were half as likely to develop the disease as those who ate the least. Blend 1 cup steamed, cooled cauliflower florets; 1¼ cups almond milk; ½ large banana; 1 Tbsp. peanut butter; ¼ cup soft tofu; and 1½ teaspoons Dutch-process cocoa powder until smooth. Then add ice and blend for another minute.

Tweak: Brownies
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A fudgy serving of veggies? Sweet! Brownies can be a Trojan horse for beets or eggplant—both contain B vitamins that help in the production of red blood cells. For most box brownies, puree 8 ounces peeled, cooked beets or eggplant to fold into batter; reduce oil by 1 Tbsp. These may cook faster, so watch the oven and keep a toothpick tester handy.


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