I love vegetables! I am happy to say that I get more then the recommended servings of vegetables in everyday! I aim for at least 4-6 servings EVERYDAY (which is approx 4-6 handfuls). I seriously notice the difference when I don’t- I start to feel sluggish, have low energy and sometimes get brain fog. New Zealander’s and Australian’s just don’t eat enough. We load our plates full of simple carbs, processed foods and low quality protein then have a small spoonful of vegetables on the side! Start loading your lunch and dinner meals up with AT LEAST half your plateful of colourful vegetables; then add your quality protein and complex carb source. Vegetables have so many benefits from antioxidant properties, are packed full of Vitamins, FIBRE (great for gut health) and much more! The good thing about vegetables is that they are extremely nutrient dense and don’t contain much energy so you can pretty much go unlimited (on the non-starchy kind).
Here are my top 10 ways that you can add more vegetables into your day:
1. Try new cooking styles with vegetables. Definitely get into the kitchen and experiment with trying your veggies in new ways. For example, do you always steam your veggies or have them raw? I fell in love with roasting veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, courgettes, etc just simply by adding a bit of olive oil and some seasoning! There are so many ways to eat veggies – steamed, boiled, roasted, sautéed, grilled, baked..the list goes on. I know so many people that fell in love with kale when they roasted it and turned it into kale chips! Try this bacon and broccoli salad, beetroot and carrot salad or these honey roasted carrots. .
2. Use them for healthy swaps or substitutes! Try grating broccoli or cauliflower into rice and swapping this for normal rice. Try zucchini noodles instead of regular past, making a kumara pizza base or slicing kumara into thick slices to toast as bread and top with your favourite toppings!
3. Add vegetables into smoothies! This has got to be one of my favourite ways of adding ‘hidden’ vegetables into your day without even knowing! I usually pack up to 2 cups of spinach in my smoothies and I can barely taste it. This is a simple addition for children who are fussy vegetable eaters. If you are more into juicing, that also is a great way to get more veggies in. Don’t be afraid to add spices and herbs into your smoothies too like ginger, cinnamon or turmeric! Try this yummy green smoothie recipe
4. Make a soup and add all the veggies! Another easy and sneaky way to add all the veggies in. Slow cookers will be your best friend when it comes to soups and casseroles! Try different soup recipes like minestrone soup, cauliflower, lentil, mushroom, zucchini and the list goes on! Invest in a decent slow cooker and start making your own homemade soups- you won’t regret it!
5. Bake with them- make some great snacks! Bake some delicious savoury snacks such as kale chips, apple chips with cinnamon, roasted carrot/ celery sticks zucchini and kumara chips. These will bring out unique flavours in your veggies and are a much better option to snack on then processed chips or chocolates!
6. Make more vegetable bowls! Budda bowls are a great lunch or dinner idea! Pile your bowl with a variety of colourful vegetables and top with some homemade green dressing/ hummus/ vinaigrette. These are so tasty and are a quick and easy lunch option to whip up to take to work! There are so many healthy take-away lunch cafe’s that now offer these amazing bowls or poke bowls at your local Japanese restaurant.
7. Make home-made dressing/ sauces! Try to make your own homemadebasil pesto , beetroot hummus or tomato sauce! Herbs are packed full of flavour and anti-inflammatory properties and make a great base for dressings or sauces.
8. Shop seasonal! Buy fruit and vegetables that are in season and use these as a base for your meals. This saves so much money and they are generally more nutrient dense. Stick to the seasons so you don’t get too overwhelmed when trying to choose what to cook with. When following a recipe, add as many vegetables as you can- remember the more variety the better!
9. Have them in sight all the time! Chopping vegetables up like carrots, capsicum, cucumber, celery, etc and storing them in a container at the front of the fridge will catch your eye every time you open the fridge door. You are more then likely going to reach for these first (as a snack) before anything else that is hidden behind. Out of sight, out of mind defiantly comes into play here.
10. Meal prep with your veggies! Meal planning but also meal prepping with your vegetables will save you so much time and money. An hour or two on Sunday means delicious veggies all week, already prepped. It’ll make your buddha bowls much easier too!
How do you make your veggies so that you not only enjoy them, but that you want to eat them? I would love to hear from you! If you’ve tried any of the above methods to get more vegetables into your life, please let me know in the comments section below or tag us in your creations on instagram!