Vegetables are one of the most nutritious food groups you can eat. While you may have hated eating your greens as a kid, most of us find at least a core group of vegetables we actively enjoy. However, many people struggle to reach the recommended 5 portions of vegetables or fruit a day. It’s easy to lose track of your vegetable intake and fall behind, even if you love eating them.
However, ignoring your vegetables can cause deficiencies in key vitamins, mineral and fibre. So it’s very important to keep your intake high.
To help you boost your veggie count, we’ve compiled the simplest ways you can eat more of the good stuff.
Blitz Your Veg into Smoothies
If you are partial to a smoothie for breakfast or as a snack, this is a great opportunity to increase your veg intake. Don’t worry about ruining the flavour of your smoothie. Adding in a portion of kale or spinach won’t cause a huge difference in taste, especially if you use strongly flavoured fruits. You could also go for the quick solution of adding in some powdered vegetables.
Go Half and Half with your Carbs
If you love your pasta and rice, consider adding vegetable substitutes in half the recipe. Spiralized courgettes or squash make great additions to spaghetti. For rice dishes, grated cauliflower is barely noticeable when mixed in. You’ll still get your satisfaction from the comforting pasta, plus smugness from knowing you’ve got a good dose of minerals and vitamins.
Hide Them in a Strong Flavoured Sauce
If you are fussy about your veg, experiment with masking the flavours in your favourite sauces. Chopped green beans can be undetected in a Thai curry, while carrots and swede go well with an Italian tomato sauce. If the texture of certain veggies puts you off, just blend them into your chosen sauce with a hand mixer.
Make Chopped Veg Your on the go Snack
Grab a travel sized container and take chopped Veg with you to munch on whenever you get hungry. Chopped carrots, peppers and tender stem broccoli make great hunger busters. This is a great option in particular for anyone who likes to graze and pick at food. In addition, if you are on a calorie restricted program this will really help you steer clear of temptation when you start to feel hungry.
Try Meat Free Mondays
Going vegetarian for a day is a great way to boost your cooking creativity. You’ll be much more inclined to bulk out your meals with vegetables when you don’t have your usual staple to fall back on. You can still get your protein through shakes, nuts and other meat-free sources so you don’t have to worry about your muscle recovery and progress.
Go For Frozen Veg
A common complaint with vegetables is the cost of fresh produce, and the pressure to use them before they go off. With frozen vegetables, you can get bulk discounts without worrying they’ll wilt before you cook them. Don’t panic, you won’t be stuck with frozen peas for every meal. Supermarkets are wise to the popularity of frozen vegetables, and you can get pretty much any kind at larger supermarkets. Most are very quick to cook, with no need to defrost overnight like you might find with frozen meats.
So now there’s NO excuse to not being a vegetable king or queen!