Only up until a few years ago I actually enjoyed eating my vegetables and throughout my childhood my mum struggled to get me to eat them. My grandparents were keen gardeners with two massive allotments where they would grow their own vegetables from runner beans, carrots, potatoes, beets, parsnips, courgettes – there was nothing that their magical green fingers couldn’t grow and there was always an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables about when I was younger. I ate them, but I would say that I probably tolerated the taste rather than savour it. Now as an adult things are a million times different and I would happily eat a huge bowl of roasted vegetables for dinner.
We all know that we should be eating more vegetables and we all know the reasons why – they are a healthy source of essential minerals and vitamins that our bodies need to work at its optimum best. Many of us struggle to get more vegetables into our diet. This can be especially tricky if you are just getting into the healthier swing of things because after a life of persistently eating pizza and takeaways for dinner, vegetables may seem boring. However, this is further from the truth and here are a few tasty ideas to help you get more veggies into your diet without even trying.
Get them in as early as possible
Vegetables aren’t just for lunch and dinner, but you can also have them at breakfast time too. Try some scrambled eggs with spinach, grated cheddar cheese and tomatoes or an omelette with red peppers, onion and feta cheese. Try and split up your plate into 3 sections – ¼ for protein, ¼ for carbohydrates, ½ for vegetables or salad. Dedicating more of your plate to vegetables and salad ensures that you will get more greens in at meal times.
OK, so I can see you all rolling your eyeballs at the computer screen, but green smoothies are a fantastic way to get more vegetables into your diet. If you love fruit smoothies then you are already on the right track, simply add a handful of spinach, lettuce or kale. When you really start to love them, you can start experimenting with superfood powders for a nutritional boost too.
Disguise vegetables among other foods
This is a trick that I learnt from my Mum and it has helped me get my husband to eat more vegetables. Packing out a chilli con carne, beef ragu, curry or a lentil cottage pie is a great way to disguise the taste of vegetables, so much so that you will hardly know that they are there. Alfie didn’t eat any vegetables when I first met him and I started hiding them in his meals so that he wouldn’t notice and now he eats them without batting an eyelid.
Get your wok on!
Stir fries are the quickest and healthiest ways to get a nutritionally dense meal via vegetables. Rather than ordering a takeaway, make your favourite Chinese meal at home with lots of vegetables and protein like chicken, beef, fish or tofu and serve with rice or noodles for a healthy alternative.
Blend them into a soup
Cooking vegetables by roasting them to emphasise their flavour and then blending them with some stock to make soup is one of the easiest ways to add to the daily veggie count. Soups can be frozen too, so you will always have a healthy and nutritious meal on hand when you’re not in the mood to cook.
So there you go, some easy ideas to get more veggies into your meals without going to any real extra effort. It’s all about baby steps and making small changes at a time, but once you get started you won’t want to stop!