“How can I possibly get that many vegetables into me?” is the usually response when I tell my clients how many vegetables and fruits they should be eating each day. And my response? It is easy to learn how to eat more vegetables – you just have to think outside the box.
It is vital for good health to eat lots of vegetables every day. In fact, research has shown that around 800 grams per day of vegetables and fruit leads to a 31 per cent reduction in dying prematurely and significantly reduces the risk of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. Around 650 grams of that should be non starchy vegetables and the rest starchy vegetables and fruit (just 1-2 pieces of lower sugar fruit per day). For more information on the benefit of eating lots of vegetables, read my article “The Importance of Vegetables“.
To help you increase your vegetable intake without getting bored, try some of these suggestions:
Do you like an omelette for breakfast or lunch, or for a quick and easy dinner? Don’t just put the usual cheese and a slice of tomato in it, fill it to the brim with vegetables – such an easy way to eat more vegetables. You can fit 250 grams of vegetables (yes, you can!) into a 1 egg omelette, and here’s how….
- 1 egg
- 250 grams of vegetables of your choice – tomatoes, mushrooms, baby spinach (lots of it, because it reduces down really well), asparagus, grated zucchini, grated cauliflower and any other vegetables you like
- Nutritional yeast
- Cashew cheese and pesto optional
- Avocado optional
- In a greased frypan, saute the 250 grams of vegetables until soft.
- When soft, add 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast (Full of B Vitamins and gives a delicious flavour).
- While the vegetables are cooking, separate 1 egg, and beat the egg white with a pinch of salt in it, until stiff. Stir in the egg yolk.
- Spread the egg mixture over a small greased and heated 20cm frying pan.
- When the bottom has started to brown, add the vegetable/nutritional yeast mixture over half the omelette.
- I always add some sliced avocado and some dobs of cashew cheese and pesto to give it more flavour and a creamy texture. If you do this, then just use 200 grams of cooked vegetables.
- Once the bottom is golden brown, carefully fold one half over the other. Slightly flatten it with a spatula and serve.
This simple Paleo zucchini hummus recipe replaces the chick peas with zucchini.
Instead of heading for the bread or flatbread, try this Paleo Zucchini Flatbread recipe instead.
Pesto can be used to flavour your vegetables and as a dip. I like using parsley because it is less expensive and is the easiest herb to grow yourself. So try my Parsley Pesto recipe. Chop up some carrot, celery and capsicum instead of heading for the crackers.
Frittatas are a great way to eat more vegetables without feeling like you are eating veggies! You can make a large family sized one using my Frittata recipe or muffin sized snack ones. Great for lunchboxes for the kids.
Kale chips are light, crunchy and delicious. But be careful – they are addictive!
Avocado Chocolate Mousse
For a decadent treat, try this Avocado Chocolate Mousse. I know, technically avocado is a fruit. But I still class it as a vegetable.
Guacamole (avocado dip)
For a simple, quick and easy recipe just add avocado to a food processor, or mash with a fork and add some lemon juice, garlic and salt. You can also add chopped onion, tomato and coriander. Who doesn’t love a tasty guacamole? Another example of how to eat more vegetables without even feeling like you are.
For a great snack, try my zucchini chips recipe.
Instead of using rice (not a lot of nutrition, and rice is high in arsenic and high carb/starch), use cauliflower rice or spread avocado over the nori sheet to soften it, then add whatever vegetables you want – capsicum, cucumber etc. You’d be surprised at how much sugar there is in a sushi roll, so this turns a not so healthy sushi into a healthy one.
Instead of heading for the bread wrap, try these lettuce wraps instead. Mine certainly don’t look as good as the ones on this video, but they sure do taste great. Make sure you fill it with vegetables and a little protein. I like to include avocado and cashew cheese for a creamier texture.
Or you can simply get an unbroken leaf from an iceberg lettuce and fill that with vegetables.
Baked eggplant with capsicum
Slice a large eggplant lengthways (1cm thick slices) and together with some sliced capsicum, lightly oil and bake in the oven until tender. (you can also fry them in a frypan but better baked because it uses less oil). When soft, simply place the eggplant on a plate, top with capsicum and spread with some pesto and/or cashew cheese. You can then roll them up or eat as is. This is such a simple and delicious way to eat more vegetables
Cauliflower Pizza base
What a great way to get extra veggies into you! The internet has lots of recipes for cauliflower pizza base, just find one that uses almond meal rather than flour. I think this would have to be one of the sneakiest ways to eat more vegetables. Great for kids – they’ll never know!
A big batch can be made ahead and frozen.
You need to blind bake the base and make sure you cook it thoroughly or it will go soggy when you add all the veggies to it
Then top with lots of different vegetables and back into the oven for a delicious pizza
- There are recipes galore on the internet for vegetables soups. Try cauliflower soup, broccoli soup, tomato soup, mushroom soup, asparagus and spinach soup or a mixed vegetable soup. Nutritional yeast is a great addition to give it flavour. It acts like a stock cube.
- Using large field mushrooms, carefully scrape out the mushroom so you have a “cup” shape
- Chop and saute the scraped out mushroom together with some onion, some finely chopped capsicum, some baby spinach, a small amount of organic bacon, garlic and salt. When that has cooked down, add some nutritional yeast, some almond meal, cashew cheese to help bind it together and pre browned pine nuts (optional). Place the mixture into the mushroom cups and press down firmly to help it bind it further. You can also add some pesto or cheese (if you tolerate dairy), then bake in an oven.
- Follow your normal Lasagna recipe but Instead of using pasta sheets, use eggplant.
Cauliflower or Zucchini fritters
- Google for some recipes but always aim to bake in the oven rather than fry, as frying uses a lot of oil and the oil oxidises when heated up to frying temperature.
- Grate lots of carrot, zucchini and cauliflower into a homemade spaghetti bolognaise sauce.
- Grate zucchini into chocolate cakes (it adds moisture and you can’t taste the zucchini).
- Use cauliflower rice instead of rice.
- Use zucchini spirals instead of pasta.
So now there’s no excuse not to include lots of health giving vegetables into your diet every day.
What is your favourite way of including vegetables? Tell me in the comment box below.