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You don’t need a degree in nutritional science to know that eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you. The plant-based diet is pretty straightforward—until the craving for a giant bowl of mac and cheese strikes. That’s why we turned to Nicole Centeno, the founder of plant-based smoothie and soup company Splendid Spoon, for cooking tips that make eating more veggies so much easier. 

RELATED: What the Heck Is a Plant-Based Diet (and Should You Try It)?

vegan butternut mac and cheese smoky shiitake bacon recipe
Chloe Flavor

Sneak Veggies Into Comfort Food

Most comfort foods have a dip or sauce; add some more healthy veggies to your diet by blending in some mushrooms and carrots to your pasta sauce. And did you know that pureed butternut squash makes a silky plant-based cheese sauce? Try it in Dairy-Free Butternut Squash "Fondue" or Vegan Butternut Mac and "Cheese" with Smoky Shiitake "Bacon."

beet smoothie bowl
wmaster890/Getty Images

Sweeten Up with Roasted Beets

Sure, you could drizzle maple syrup all over your bowl of morning oats. But we’d rather chow down on something healthy while satisfying our sweet tooth, which is why we love this tip: Add roasted, chopped beets to your breakfast bowl instead. (Don’t knock it ’til you try it—it’s surprisingly tasty.) Beets are especially high in natural sugars; roasting concentrates the sugars and makes them taste extra sweet.

creamy potato soup recipe
AnnaPustynnikova/Getty Images

Go for Potato-Based Soups

It’s hard to beat a soup with lots of cream and cheese, but puree some potatoes and you’ll come close. Puree potatoes with some vegetable stock and you’ll swear you’re eating a cheesy soup that’s loaded with dairy.

gwyneth paltrow blueberry cauliflower smoothie recipe
The Clean Plate

Put Cauliflower In Your Smoothie (Yep)

The next time you reach for your blender, sub cauliflower for banana. Here’s the deal: Our favorite cruciferous vegetable makes the smoothie filling and creamy but with less sugar and carbs. (Looking for a place to start? Try Gwyneth Paltrow’s Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie.)

salad greens
Twenty20

Use More Fresh Herbs

The three quickest ways to add more flavor to a dish? Salt, acid and herbs. When your salad greens get boring, mix in a handful of fresh herbs to add a ton of nuanced flavor. Plus, herbs pack in plenty of nutritional benefits. Did you know eating cilantro makes your skin glow? True story.

RELATED: How to Eat Plant-Based Every Night This Week

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