Integrating more veggies into the diet can seem like hard work – and it is if you don’t have a plan! If you break it down though, its pretty easy to achieve. You have 3 meal time opportunities plus snacking time to fit in all your daily requirements.
The issue is making the vegies taste good enough so you actually want to eat them. And trust me you can!. Here are my tips that may help to increase your daily intake.
1. Instead of topping cooked fish (or meat or poultry) with a sauce, use sautéed vegetables, such as a combination of peppers, onions and tomatoes, add little turmeric, garlic, lemon juice and zest. They’ll add plenty of flavour and nutrients—and at the same time, boost portion size without adding empty calories.
2. Swap carbs for veggies: Instead of using rice as a base for curries etc, make cauliflower “rice”. Finely chop a head or portion of cauliflower in a processor, then fry in a little oil, salt and pepper for about 5 to 10 mins. This is such a staple in my house and your mind seems to accept that its rice. Another alternative is zucchini shredded into ribbons with a vegetable peeler – us that as a base for a bolognaise sauce or any type of saucy dish.
3. A must have kitchen appliance – a high speed blender – such as the nutri-bullet. I use mine every day at least once. Make your own veggie based dips – try my beetroot dip – juices and smoothies. Drinking your fruit and veg will also dramatically increase your daily intake.
4. If you are making a bolognaise – make it 50% finely chopped vegetables. I put mushrooms, carrots, and spinach in a processor and process until quite fine, then fry this off with the mince. The veg is sufficiently disguised enough such that you don’t think its a vegie dish.
5. Make soup: Make a large batch of vegetable, bean or lentil soup and freeze it in smaller portions. Defrost as required. Soup is one of the best ways to load up on veggies.
6. Make a vegie platter a couple of times a week – chopped carrot, capsicum, radish, celery etc and serve with a home made or good quality dip. Use this as an appetiser.
7. Part of the problem of increasing your vegie intake is that they can be quite laborious to prepare each night. Eliminate this my doing a bulk cook. On Sunday night – chop up some pumpkin, potato, eggplant etc into cubes, and roast with a little garlic oil. To make a meal of it, plate up a handful of baked vegies, add some spinach leaves, fish or even a can of tuna, some nuts, fetta and a great dressing and there is dinner in literally minutes.
8. Make cooking ridiculously easy: After shopping, wash and chop your just-bought veggies and store them in the fridge. When it’s time to put a meal together you’ll be able to just grab your pre-prepped, salad-bar style veggies and toss them right into whatever you’re cooking.
9. Change your approach: Look at every meal or snack you eat and think about where you can sneak in an extra serving of fruits and veggies. Think salads are a bit of a snooze? Then wake themem up by tossing in almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, apples, pears, oranges, fetta or even some dried cranberries into your salads. And spiff it up with some great dressings.
10. Breakfast in 60 seconds: If you have 60 seconds, you have time to blend up a healthy, fruit and fiber-packed breakfast. Reserve a few minutes over the weekend to pre-package your breakfasts for the week so you can move quickly on workday mornings. Assemble 5 days of smoothie ingredients into individual servings so in the morning all you have to do is grab a container, dump the contents into the blender, add water and press blend. Time elapsed: 1 minute, including blending!
11. Keep a bag of frozen veg in the freezer. There is nothing wrong with frozen and quite often its premium ripe veg that’s put aside to freeze. So go for it! That goes for fruit too! I keep raspberries, blueberries, chopped banana, and mango in my fridge for smoothies or foe my pure fruit creamy icecream.
12. Determination: anything worth sticking at requires a little determination. It will soon become a habit.
13. My most important tip – keep them in sight, in mind: Don’t toss your vegies in the black hole of your fridge draws. Keep them nicely organised and easily visible.
Do you have any fabulous tips? Please share with us.