Healthy Vegetable Sides | 5-Minute Life-Changing Guide to Keeping Your Vegetables Healthy

This is a get-real guide to healthy vegetable sides. Use these quick tips to make sure your vegetables are the best they can be.

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Healthy Vegetable Sides

So what the heck is this post about? All vegetable sides are healthy, right?

No, my friends, no.

I recently had a come to cheeses* moment and I learned about vegetables.

Just your good, old, everyday vegetables. It just started out with a few googly questions like:

-Are all vegetables healthy?

– What makes a vegetable healthy?

Why?  you ask.

Because I realized I couldn’t definitively answer the question. Like, picture yourself on a game show.

Announcer Host Person: What makes a vegetable healthy?

ME: Uhm, I dunno uh their nutrition!! Uhm their vitamins!


Announcer Host Person: We’re Sorry, could you be more specific?

ME: Uhh, hm, crap, uh..

EHHHHHHH *obnoxious buzzer*

Like dang! Literally just lost a new car to a second-grader.

So, I dove deep. Through the trenches. I’m trudging along learning all this rad awesome stuff when boom! One of my gals up top blurted out,

Well, what makes a vegetable unhealthy?”

It was like holy crap, duh.

This post is all about healthy vegetable sides and how to keep them that way.


1. Living in a Food Desert

Food Desert

Contrary to popular belief, all vegetable sides are not created equal. But that can change. In our household, we had to get real about what we were eating and how we were eating it.

Vegetables were number one.

We were not eating enough of them and the ones we did eat, turns out, served almost no purpose. I’ve been on a mission ever since to change the way that we prepare, consume, and shop for vegetables.

Of course, you have your fresh vegetables. If you have full access to fresh produce and farmer’s markets of that nature, take advantage of it.

Currently, we live in Florida. From October-April, there are farmer’s markets virtually every day. I wrote out the schedule for each one and their locations. I was shocked to learn about how much I was missing out on. On top of that you are supporting local earth-loving farmers. It’s a win-win.

But here in Florida, all over the country, and even more in the rest of the world, there are these zones called food deserts.

NOT desserts! You silly thing, not the sweet, lovely, edible indulgences. The dry, arid deserts like the Sahara.

Food deserts are areas that have limited access to affordable and nutritious foods. This means healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains cost too much and are out of reach for many of us. It’s no wonder why we don’t know diddly squat about how to eat healthy vegetables.

If you live in an area like this or during the rest of the year when the farmers are busy farming, there are ways around not having access to fresh vegetables.


2. Canned or Frozen

Vegetable Dishes

Canned and frozen vegetables are an option when we can’t access fresh produce. If you are wondering which one is the better option, it comes down to how they were cooked before they were packaged.

This is key when it comes to keeping all those rich goodies in your food.

Frozen vegetables are our go-to if we don’t have fresh, but canned goods are fine too, within the guidelines. Not all brands are the same when it comes to their value and how they can benefit you.

There are a few easy ways that you can ensure that whichever vegetables you’re choosing are healthy options or not:

1. You want to avoid added sugars and salt.

2. Choose the organic option if you can.

3. Rinse everything that comes in a can.

4. Things that come seasoned or sauced often are not designed with you in mind.

Get a set of these if you use canned food often. They are also useful for straining drinks and other things.

SIFTR Nesting Can Strainer Mini Colander Set

Buy SIFTR Nesting Can Strainer Mini Colander Set on Amazon

These can fit on tops of pretty much any size can. Make your rinsing a breeze.

3. Veggie Etiquette

Heart Healthy Vegetable Side Dishes

How do you treat your veggies?

All of your vegetables must be treated with love and finesse, especially your fresh ones. Keeping your vegetable sides healthy means preparing them properly so they can keep as much of their vitamins and nutrients as possible.

Hard boiling them, deep frying them, or steaming them to a mush means you have mushed all their best characteristics right out of them.

An easy way to understand this is just to keep in mind that your veggies should still have a crunch when you’re done cooking them. It’s simple, they are the best for you in their natural state. The closer you can keep them to that, the better they will be for you.

A few styles of cooking to make your life easier are sautéing, roasting, grilling, or lightly steaming them.

If you find that you have more questions about the actual nutrition or detailed lists of vegetables and cooking times, those resources are easy to find.

Here are a couple of handy trinkets for your vegetables.

Microwave Steamer with Removable Strainer

Buy Microwave Steamer with Removable Strainer on AmazonWe try to use the stovetop as much as possible but this comes in handy when you’re in a pickle.


This puppy is a lifesaver. It has so many different uses and it’s super easy to store! (FYI, this one will not fit the 3 qt instant pot)


4. Best Dressed

What Vegeteables Go With Each Other

How are you dressin’ em’ up? It matters. You could have the most wonderful ever-life vegetable to have been grown for mankind and we for some reason were taught to just slather it in butter.

Oh my.

Or one of these classics, “Just put some rannnnch on it”.

So long to those days for us. I knew deep down that this way of life wasn’t good for you. But the more I challenged myself to learn, it became clear as day, that it’s actually TERRIBLE for you.

That being said we’ve learned that it’s important to make sure that the condiments you’re using don’t wash out all the goodies.

My recommendations for healthy vegetable dishes:

  • Use infused olive oils
  • Different types of vinegar (like balsamic, or make a vinaigrette)
  • Spices (keep an abundance, combinations are endless)
  • A squeeze of some kind of citrus
  • Fresh herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme, or oregano (or store-bought, we can’t all be bougie right away)

These tips will keep you on the right track when it comes to getting your vegetables all dressed up.

You don’t have to be a wizard to make vegetables taste good and keep them healthy. Get these, keep them in your cabinet, and don’t sweat it.

Basil, Garlic, Lemon, Chili Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Buy Basil, Garlic, Lemon, Chili Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil on Amazon

These are great for any time of the day and any night of the week. Pair them with whatever they are flavored after like garlic or lemon and you have yourself some elevated veggies.

Pack of 6 Balsamic Vinegar Crafted in Modena, Italy

Buy Pack of 6 Balsamic Vinegar Crafted in Modena, Italy on Amazon

This is a cute starter kit if you’re not used to vinegar yet. These actually pair well with the olive oils above so you have a dressing just like that!

TIP: Make sure your vinaigrettes are 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar

De La Rosa Non-GMO Balsamic Glaze

Buy De La Rosa Non-GMO Balsamic Glaze On Amazon

This is excellent by itself on literally everything. This is balsamic, yes, but because it’s a glaze, it’s sweet. Try it!

Badia Seasoning New Kitchen Starter

Buy Badia Seasoning New Kitchen Starter on Amazon I live by Badia. Before getting overwhelmed with the crazy spices and gourmet seasonings, add these to your cabinet and enjoy your new vegetable world.

True Lemon and Lime Shaker

Buy True Lemon and Lime Shaker on Amazon


You can add these to the Badia collection just to help you tie everything together with your flavor game.

5. Mis-corn-formation

Easy Healthy Vegetable Side Dishes

This is just a bonus tidbit.

Did you know corn is good for you?

I grew up my whole life being told corn doesn’t have any nutritional value whatsoever.

Turns out we have been mis-corn-formed.

Corn varieties are good sources of fiber and other jazz, like healthy carbohydrates. I’m not a nutrition expert by the way! I just happen to be good at reading. Turns out corn is here to stay!

So here’s some corny stuff to go with that corn-tastic lifestyle!

Shark Corn Holders

Buy Shark Corn Holders on Amazon

Because who doesn’t want to eat their corn with little sharks?!

Good Grips Corn Peeler

Buy Corn Peeler on AmazonI always mess up when I use a knife to take off the kernels, this is just as easy as a potato peeler.


Ultimately, for us, it came down to the health and longevity of our lives and our family’s lives. Keeping this guide in mind has changed our whole perspective on veggies and how we get our nutrition as a family. Before you know it, everything becomes second nature and it will be hard to believe you ever ate vegetables any other way before.


This post was all about healthy vegetable sides.