We all know that vegetables are good for us; packed full of fibre, vitamins and antioxidants, we should be eating plenty of them every day. I love experimenting with new ways to prepare and serve vegetables and recently bought Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s book “River Cottage Veg Everyday” – it’s fantastic, and trying new and interesting ways to serve vegetables means they never get boring!
If you think that eating more vegetables will be difficult then here are eight simple ways that you can sneak more into your diet.
1. Add some veggies to your smoothies.
Green smoothies are delicious – you really won’t know there are any vegetables in there (except for the colour of course!). Try this recipe.
8 fl oz water
8 fl oz unsweetened almond milk (or any other kind of milk)
Large handful of organic baby leaf spinach
1 large frozen banana (peel and slice before you freeze it!)
1 tbsp of ground flaxseed
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
If you have a powerful blender you can just throw everything in and blitz it. If, like me, you have a small blender, blend the spinach, water and almond milk first and blend until completely smooth. Then add the remaining ingredients and blend well.
2. Snack on veggie sticks
OK, I agree that a handful of carrot or celery sticks for a snack doesn’t seem that appetizing. However, if you serve up those sticks with some of this fabulous roasted red pepper hummus then you have a really yummy, healthy snack….. and extra veggies in the dip too!
3. Make your own soup
Soups are a delicious way to up your vegetable intake, especially during the winter months when a steaming bowl of Mixed Vegetable soup is perfect for a light lunch.
4. Add vegetables to a salad
Put some oomph in your salads by adding shredded or diced vegetables. Or why not try roasting some vegetables in olive oil with a little maple syrup and serve over salad leaves with some cubed feta cheese and dried cranberries.
5. Make your own vegetable sauce
These are a great standby for days when you’re rushed and don’t have time to cook from scratch. Use vegetable sauces on:
Try this great recipe;
100ml vegetable stock
2 courgettes (zucchini)
4 medium carrots
1 clove garlic
1tbsp tomato puree
1 Tbsp olive oil
Roughly chop all the vegetables. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onion. Sweat for 5-7 mins until it begins to soften. Add the crushed garlic and stir.
Add the remaining vegetables, tinned tomatoes and tomato puree. Stir well and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
You can serve the sauce as it is or, if you want to ‘hide’ the vegetables for fussy children, use a hand blender to puree the sauce until it is smooth.
I like to make a big batch and then freeze in small containers so I always have a few portions in the freezer.
6. Use vegetables instead of pasta
This is a great idea, especially if you are trying to lower your intake of starchy carbs. You can buy a vegetable spiraliser or alternatively use a mandolin or vegetable peeler. Try courgette (zucchini) or Squash spaghetti topped with one of your homemade vegetable sauces.
7. Eat veggies for breakfast
Eggs and veggies for breakfast – the perfect way to start the day. A breakfast omelette is a great way to use up any vegetables from the day before.
8. Vegetable desserts!
When I first made this delicious avocado chocolate dessert I ‘tested’ it out on my husband. He had absolutely no idea there was avocado in it and really enjoyed it! Strictly speaking avocados are a fruit but they are so nutritious that I wanted to link my recipe to this article!
1 large, ripe avocado
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut nectar (or agave nectar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Scoop out the avocado flesh and roughly mash. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. You will need to stop the blender after a minute or two, scrape the sides of the bowl and then continue blending. A hand-held blender will also do the job.
Taste the mousse and add more sweetener if necessary.
I hope this has given you a few ideas on how you can sneak in a few more veggies every day. Do you have any inventive ways to add more vegetables to your family’s diet? I’d love to know – please leave a comment.