My #1 Life Hack for Eating More Vegetables

There’s a popular phrase in the financial independence circles I run in: “it’s all FI-related.” FI, of course, meaning financial independence. Today, I thought I’d share how we’re applying the Pareto Principle (also know as the 80/20 rule) to eating more vegetables in our house. By using this one life hack for eating more vegetables, I’m able to devote more time and energy to enjoying life and pursuing financial independence.

Some Background on Cooking Vegetables: Husband vs Me

In the Orange Jalapeños household, we have very different cooking preferences. For example, most evenings my husband throws together a bunch of fresh vegetables as a big, colorful, inviting salad, a delicious, aromatic stir fry or a pop-in-your-mouth roasted medley. I, on the other hand, will moan and groan about the 10 minutes it takes to prep a dinner’s worth of vegetables but will gladly spend over an hour preparing baked goods… like the 30+ sugar cookie people my daughter and I can churn out. Because cookies.

So if you’re more like me in your culinary prowess, I’m about to share my secret to at least sometimes getting vegetables in your diet without precious minutes spent over a cutting board. Spoiler alert: it’s a frozen vegetable, so do not pass go if you’re morally opposed or whatever.

The Life Hack For Eating Vegetables Revealed

The #1 way I consume vegetables outside of my husband’s cooking is, hands down, frozen cauliflower rice. Before children, I would cut up cauliflower heads and pulse them in a food processor. This is BY FAR the superior way to make it because you actually get couscous-like grains. However, mama ain’t got time or energy for that anymore.

Luckily for me, “riced cauliflower” is super trendy so now we always have a bag or three in the freezer. You can cook it in the microwave either directly in the bag or emptied into a bowl (the latter is probably less carcinogenic). You can get real fancy and throw it in a pan with some olive oil and garlic. Heck, maybe even some chopped vegetables you stole from your husband’s chopping board. In my house, this pairs perfectly with the leftover chicken mom gave us over the weekend. Because despite owning a home and somehow being able to keep two children alive, I still rely pretty heavily on my mom’s leftovers.

If/when you run out of leftovers, cauliflower rice also taste great in an omelette. The possibilities are ENDLESS my friends.

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Extending The Hack To Your Kids

Lest I end the post there, I have another more exciting frozen vegetable recommendation for you that is KID FRIENDLY: cauliflower pizza. I saw this in Safeway the other day and thought to myself, “No way will my 4 year old go for this pizza.” But guess. Freaking. What. She absolutely loved it. She ended up eating half of the whole pie. That might also have been because there was pepperoni on it, but whatever. She ate it!

So there you have it: vegetables masquerading as carbs are the key to vegetable eating success. And in case anyone is mortified or indignant about how we feed our children, know that they regularly consume fresh fruit and vegetables hidden in other dishes. This post was supposed to be about me anyway, not them, so calm down.

Final Thoughts

[updated November 2020]: I originally wrote this article in the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic really started. Interestingly, all this time at home has actually given me more time to make riced cauliflower in the food processor. Sure enough, it’s eons better than the frozen bags of chopped cauliflower stems. However, the lack of the easier-to-use frozen cauliflower does mean that I’m less of it overall than I used to. So perhaps the true hack for eating vegetables is probably a balance of both fresh and frozen cauliflower (or any veggie), depending on your available time and energy.

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