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18 Ways To Have More Veggies & Fruit


It can be a challenge to eat five portions of fruit & vegetables each day even when you like vegetables. Now research tells us that eating 10 portions is what we need to stay healthy for longer. Most people don’t come nearly close to having enough, and I bet you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to manage that. Let me help you. Throughout this newsletter, I'm going to be sharing some of the tips I use with my clients who want to increase their veggies but don't want to feel they're just staring at half a plate of boiled veg each night.

You'll notice, I'm not advocating fruit juices. Juicing removes a lot of the beneficial fibre, which means these can unbalance your blood sugar levels in excess.


So, what constitutes a portion?


A portion means 80g (3oz) of fruit or vegetables - the equivalent of a small banana, a pear or three heaped tablespoons of spinach or peas


Read on for tips on getting more of the good stuff into your life in a super-easy way


1.  Make a frittata

Perfect for a simple lunch or a lazy weekend brunch, whisk up eggs with veggies like onions, mushrooms and peppers – or anything else you have in the fridge. If you can make this a large, deep, Spanish-style omelette, it will even last you into the week.


2.  Make friends with cauliflower rice

Cauliflower rice has become a bit of a cult thing in the last few years. You can buy it ready-made in practically any supermarket, but it is also very easy to whizz up yourself in a food processor or by using a grater. Simply chop into florets and pulse until the cauliflower is a fine, rice-like consistency. Perfect whenever you might have rice or as a veggie side dish. There are many different ways to make it. My favourite is to drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, then roast in the oven for 15 minutes.


3.  Do the same with broccoli

Broccoli rice is the lesser-known relation of cauliflower rice. You prepare it in the exact same way – pulse into rice-sized pieces. You can cook it in a similar fashion, too, but it is good lightly fried with a little coconut oil. Whether cauliflower or broccoli rice, you can add the cooked version to scrambled eggs for (at least) an entire serving of your vegetable quota


4.  Pumpkin pancakes or waffles

Waffles and pancakes don’t have to be naughty to be nice. Add some pureed pumpkin* to your traditional mix or try this recipe for waffles:


Ingredients

·        120g buckwheat flour

·        1 tbsp baking powder

·        1/2 tsp salt

·        1/2 tsp ginger

·        1/2 tsp allspice

·        1/2 tsp nutmeg

·        1/2 tsp cinnamon

·        1/2 tin of pureed pumpkin

·        1 tsp vanilla extract

·        2 tbsp flaxseeds

·        2 tbsp maple syrup

·        240ml milk of your choice



Instructions

Combine buckwheat flour with 1 tbsp baking powder, salt, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon. Whisk in the pureed pumpkin, vanilla extract, flaxseeds, maple syrup and milk. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes. Heat up the waffle iron or get the skillet on the hob to heat up. Coat the pan or iron with coconut oil, tip in the mix and cook until it bubbles (skillet only) before flipping onto the other side. Perfect served with mashed avocado, smoked salmon and a poached egg

(Pureed pumpkin can be found in the whole food section of larger supermarkets or from Amazon)


5.  Upgrade your potato

Sweet potatoes have a far greater nutritional value than standard white potatoes. If switching to sweet potato mash is initially too much of a stretch, consider mixing the two to start. You can also roast or steam or cook then in the air fryer.


6.  Pimp up your porridge

You might be used to a sweet porridge but a savoury version can be surprisingly good. Try cooking plain oats with water, then adding sautéed veg or else grated courgette. Top with a poached egg for a protein hit and maybe a grating of parmesan, then season to taste


7.  Sneak it into family favourites

Pasta bakes are the perfect place to hide your vegetables. The ideal partners to throw into the mix are spinach, tomatoes, peas and broccoli but almost anything will do. And, if you cut up mushrooms really fine, they take on a mince-like texture. No one will notice!


8.  Don’t forget the herbs

These count as vegetables, too, and are easily incorporated into practically any dish, from soups and stews to scrambled eggs.


9.  Avocado Baked Eggs

Heat the oven to 220˚C. Halve an avocado and remove the stone to create a pit for the egg. Put the avocado in a small ceramic baking dish or baking tray. Crack the egg into the hole, sprinkle with paprika, then bake for 15-20 minutes.


10. Sneaky Additions

Just like with pasta bakes, casseroles, Bolognese sauce and chilli are all ideal places to smuggle in added vegetables. Vegetable dodgers will barely notice if you grate carrot, red pepper or courgette, or finely mince mushrooms (which have a surprisingly meaty texture)


11. Experiment with courgetti and boodles

You can get courgetti and boodles (butternut squash noodles) from most supermarkets or make your own with a spiralizer. Blanch for a minute or two then serve with Bolognese or Thai curries – or your own choice of meal. You can also gently fry with olive oil and garlic for a delicious side that takes no time to cook


12. Swap wraps for lettuce

It might not cut it with the kids but lettuce makes a surprisingly good stand-in for tortilla wraps when you’re serving up fajitas. As you get more adventurous, you can also use tougher greens like kale or chard if you fancy but you’ll want to blanch and pat dry before you wrap. For now, baby gem and Romaine will be your friends


13. Veggie Tomato Sauce

Making your own tomato sauce is far healthier than shop-bought varieties. Grate in carrot and finely chop peppers, then add to passata or tinned tomatoes with fresh herbs like basil or oregano, cook over a medium heat to allow all the flavours to infuse, then whiz till smooth. Roasted butternut squash will also do the trick. No one will ever know the difference


14. Kale crisps

You might have tasted the kind you get in bags from some supermarkets. Here’s a recipe you will make time and time again.


Ingredients

·        75g cashew nuts 1 shallot (chopped)

·        2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

·        1/2 tsp garlic salt

·        4 soft large dates (chopped)

·        2 tbsp lemon juice

·        2 tbsp water

·        2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

·        250g bag of kale

 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 150˚C. Blend your cashew nuts, shallot, nutritional yeast flakes, garlic salt, dates, lemon juice, water and apple cider vinegar together until you create a thick paste. Add a little more water if you need to. Put your kale in a bowl, add the sauce and massage together with your hands. Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes. Turn the kale over and bake for a further 5 minutes. Cool. The crisps will keep for 3 days in an airtight container.


15. Squeeze it into extra portions where you can

If you’ve been trained to think of dinner as protein, starch and one veg, challenge yourself to improve your life with the addition of one additional vegetable. Whatever you are making, think how can I add another vegetable to this?


16. Handbag Snacks

Apples, pears and satsumas are perfect travelling companions, and teamed with a small handful of nuts, make the perfect blood sugar-balancing snack

 

17. Bring in the berries

Berries of any kind are choc-full of inflammation-fighting antioxidants. Add them to granola, muesli or porridge along with a sprinkle of flax for a nutrition boost.


18. Bake them in bread

Veggies are marvellous when used in baking. Courgettes in particular seem to do the job above others.

 

The Bottom Line

Studies show that eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruit can offer many health benefits, including reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and mental decline. It helps to fuel the growth of good bacteria in the gut.

They are bursting with important and powerful nutrients that are important for good health.

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