Forget the latest fad super food powder or potion, vegetables will always be the best thing you can eat for your health! They are full of fibre, vitamins and minerals, low in calories, and when cooked right, high in taste. If you are looking to be healthier or lose weight, increasing the amount of vegetables in your diet will make a big difference. However it can be tricky to think of ways to include them in your diet. So, here is how to eat more veg…
Veg for snacks
Hummus with a bunch of chopped veggies like carrot, cucumber and pepper makes a great snack. Carrots dipped in peanut butter works well too! Having vegetables as a snack is a great way of boosting your health, as well as being good for you in their own right, as a snack they can replace the less than healthy snack alternatives such as chocolate bars and biscuits.
Sneak them into baked treats
We all know about carrot cake, but how about beetroot chocolate cake, courgette bread and even cookie dough pie made with chickpeas? Ok, chickpeas aren’t technically a veggie, but they do count as one of your 5 a day according to government guidelines.
Have them for breakfast
Adding some spinach and chopped peppers to an omelette, grilled mushrooms and tomatoes to a fry up and even getting a bit experimental and adding grated carrot, courgette or pumpkin puree to porridge is a great way to get those veg in.
Whack it in a smoothie
If you haven’t come across green smoothies where have you been? Just make your regular smoothie with an added handful of leafy greens. Spinach works well if you’re a green smoothie virgin, or if you are more hardcore (and have a decent blender) try adding some kale! A good basic green smoothie recipe to get started with is simply a banana, handful of spinach and milk. I promise you won’t taste the spinach!
Drink it as a juice
If you have a juicer, use it on your veg! The most nutritional juices have a ratio of 1 piece of fruit to 3 pieces of veg. Try juicing an apple, a cucumber, several sticks of celery and spinach with an added piece of ginger. The apple provides enough sweetness to make the juice tasty, but it’s sugar content is balanced by the vegetables.
Hide them in sauces
This is always a good one for kids, but if you are making some kind of pasta sauce, try adding some finely chopped celery or courgette or grated carrot to the mix.
Cook them in new ways
Boiling veg is the best way to make them taste like crap. Try roasting and stir frying as alternatives. Veg you might not think of roasting include broccoli, cauliflower and my personal favourite, brussel sprouts. Roasting those veg brings out their nutty flavour.
Use them instead of carbs
Partially due to the rise of low carb diets, the creative use of vegetables as a carb replacement has gained popularity. There’s lots of reasons why replacing some of the carbs in your diet with vegetables can be a good idea whether you are trying to lose weight or not, most of us tend to eat more carbs than we need to anyway. My favourite swaps are rice or couscous for cauliflower rice / couscous, courgette for pasta and lettuce leaves for wraps.
Obviously, veggie packed soups, chilli, curries etc are all a great idea, especially as we are now experiencing colder weather!
By using those tips you can easily be getting in excess of 5 portions of vegetables a day. For example, add some spinach to a smoothie or omelette at breakfast, have a salad with leafy greens and beetroot at lunch, snack on some hummus and carrot sticks in the afternoon, then dine on a Thai green curry made with added peppers and green beans, served with cauliflower rice in the evening, sorted!
Do you like vegetables? What is your favourite way to eat them?
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