I am constantly trying to make balanced nutritious meals while spending as little time in the kitchen as possible. I’m all about being realistic which includes taking short cuts like combining food groups into easy one pan or plate meals, or even using frozen foods where available.
With all the well known benefits of eating vegetables, you’d think the entire human population would be chowing down some carrot sticks and snacking on spinach leaves. But not everyone has a built in love for the fresh produce department. My advice? It’s all about being creative… perhaps you don’t like steamed vegetables but you may like a zucchini lasagna or minestrone soup?
Here is how I focus on offering enough vegetables in my diet in a fun manner without a lot of extra time involved:
Eat raw vegetables as snacks and right before dinner.
On my Sunday afternoon shop, I usually buy an assortment of peppers, chop them into slices, put them in a container and into the fridge. When it’s snack time or if I’m looking for something right before dinner, I’ll munch on some peppers (usually with hummus). Other great veggies to include are carrot and cucumber sticks, celery and baby tomatoes.
Add extra vegetables to your main meals like pastas, curries or stews, mince meat, rice, cottage pies etc.
This might be a no-brainer (and probably how you got your kids to eat their veggies) but sometimes you forget – like onions to sauces, carrots in stews, spinach in pasta, peppers in rice. Add mushrooms, onions and tomatoes in your omelettes. Another great idea for winter is to make soups – think carrot soup, creamy cauliflower soup, pumpkin soup, mushroom and spinach soup… the options are endless. Check out my delicious butternut soup recipe here: My Meatless Monday Winter Warmer.
Choose more plant based main meals.
Start off with meatless Mondays. Think mushroom burgers, bean curries, roasted cauliflower heads – get creative! Experiment with veggie noodles. They are easy to make and a great way to get more veggies in your diet. They are also an excellent low carb substitute.
Order side salads at restaurants.
Swapping out fried chips for a side salad can sometimes give you 2 servings of veggies – and a whole lot less oily fat!
Buy more, eat more.
Just like chips and chocolates, the more veggies you have in the house the more likely you are to eat them. It is all about accessibility. Keep them in sight, in mind (but not the chips and chocolates part 😉 ).
There are many unique ways you can include vegetables in your diet. By making veggies a regular part of your daily diet you will significantly increase your intake of fibre and antioxidants. Eating enough vegetables is also associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and is also beneficial for weight loss.
Stay tuned for my next post – a simple one pan roasted veg recipe!