How to sneak more Veggies in Everyday!!
We know that eating a variety of vegetables every day is associated with favorable health across the lifetime. Internationally, food-based dietary guidelines encourage the consumption of a variety of vegetables and fruit but globally,people are not eating enough vegetables to meet the three-or-more-a-day guideline (which in my opinion is way to little for optimum health!)
Vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals, fiber, and many bioactive compounds that promote health and provide energy.
They also help reduce hidden hunger (micronutrient deficiencies) and support the healthy growth and development of children.
New Zealand is a world leader in the production of diverse nutrients and foods yet only one in two children eats three-or-more servings of vegetables a day.
So how do we actually go about increasing our veggie intake?
I’ve put together my top tips to help you include more veggies in everyday!!
Boost your smoothie game We all know how to peel and freeze our over-ripe bananas but did you know to do the same with veggies? Chop zucchinis and steamed broccoli and cauliflower into rough chunks and keep stored in your freezer. Then add a few pieces into your smoothie!
You can also purchase frozen spinach squares from the supermarket. Looking for some inspo? Check out some of our favourite Smoothie recipes.
Serve it how its enjoyed
Above is a typical platter that is usually served when the kids come home from school or when dinner is getting made. Give options but make them all healthy! Its a win win situation!! My kids love raw vegetables but trying to to get them to eat roast carrots or sauteed zucchini is a problem. Choose your battles! If its going in one way, just be stoked!
Make or purchase some good quality dips Chop and keep vegetables sticks on hand, ready to be packed for snacks and dipped into your favourite condiments. Bored of carrot sticks? Try capsicum, green beans, cherry tomatoes – the options are endless! Enjoy them with hummus, pesto, guacamole or nut butter. If you are purchasing remember to look at the dip ingredients - if there's preservatives, numbers and flavours its probably not a great option to use regularly.
A favourite at our house is a mashed avocado with a good squeeze of lemon and generous drizzle of hemp seed oil. Quality fats served alongside vegetables is a must for uptake of nutrients like Vitamin A, E and K.
Bulk up your Bolognaise, Patties, Soups and Curries If you are making a bolognaise, a curry, or patties why not add in some extra vegetables. Tip for you: invest in a good food processor and smaller veggie piece blend in better. Use it quickly grate/chop onions, carrots, beetroot, mushrooms, zucchini, sweet potato, pumpkin and so on. You can start with adding a small amount and then increase over time as your people adjust to the flavours.
Zoodle over Noodles Use the half and half method when it comes to pasta and noodles. Both of these foods can have there place in a healthy diet but we can increase our veggie intake by having half pasta/noodles and half zoodles or carrot noodles! If you don’t have a spiraliser, simply use a vegetable peeler to peel your vegetables into long strips.
Frozen vegetables are not second rate In an ideal world, must of us would love to be able to grow our own vegetables or head to our local farmers market and get beautiful, fresh and seasonal produce. However, sometimes this just isn’t possible.
Next time you are at the supermarket, head to the freezer section and grab some frozen veggies. When prepared correctly, frozen vegetables can be just as or dare I say more nutritious as fresh! Just check the ingredients list to make sure there is no sugar or salt added. There's a number of organic vegetable options in the supermarkets now too so check out the frozen food aisle!
Got any other great tips for ways to increase vegetable consumption easily? Share the love and Leave them for others in the comments below!!