Some days in clinic vegetables are my main point of focus. For so many people they tend to eat a lot of grains, toast, cereal and pasta but they are consistently light on vegetables. Fundamentally diet is 70% of the battle in maintaining good health and one of the best strategies long term is to have three cups of vegetables in your diet daily (1/2 cup = one serve of vegetables). Many people find it difficult to design a menu that enables them to meet the three cups so in this blog I am sharing some of my best suggestions for increasing the vegetables in your diet.
- Start with veggies at breakfast. Add a side to your scrambled eggs of mushrooms, sauteed spinach or tomato. Make up a frittata with a range of vegetables and increase your count for a few days quickly and easily. Vary up the breakfast options with mushrooms and humuus on toast or smashed avocado with a corn salsa.
- Add a smoothie that is based on vegetables during the day. Many people will add spinach or greens but have you ever thought about adding frozen cauliflower or pureed pumpkin ? One of my favourite sites for recipe ideas is Simple Green Smoothies which share lots of recipe ideas with their mission to help people fall in love with Kale. A recent option was an Orange Immunity Smoothie which had a protein powder, pureed pumpkin, banana and oranges plus cinnamon, tumeric and ginger.
- Snack on vegetables when the mid afternoon slump hits try having carrot and celery sticks with humuus or guacamole dip as a snack.
- Bulk up with veggies in a stew. casserole or bolognaise. My bolognese recipe uses some slow roasted eggplant in addition to the usual carrot, celery and onion. Basically put the whole eggplant in the oven for 40-45 minutes at 180C , after piercing it with a fork a few times. Student Budget Friendly Meals has the bolognaise recipe as well as a few other ideas for adding more vegetables.
- Swap out half the meat in a recipe for lentils or chickpeas. Two of my favourite options are adding lentils to a bolognaise sauce or adding chickpeas to a casserole. Have a look at this easy tagine recipe from Taste.com .
- Make sides the star! Grill your protein and then add roasted brussel sprouts with pomegrante and tahini, honey mustard cabbage wedges, charred broccolini with lemon and garlic or maple roasted beetroot and pear.Looking for more ideas have a look at some more recipe ideas in Four easy ways to add brassica vegetables to your meals .
My Healthy Holiday Options ebook has eight delicious sides, a range of healthy salad options with legumes and some fun smoothie recipes, including a mango mint smoothie as well as banana cherry. It has some great inspiration whether its for a Christmas in July function or just a great way to add more colour and variety to your meals.
There are so many reasons to include more vegetables in your diet. The fibre in vegetables acts like a broom and helps keep you regular and the insoluble fibre feeds your beneficial gut bacteria which helps support your digestion and your immune system. In my recent blog What are the best vegetables for feeding your gut ? you can find all the information on the best type of vegetables to include to improve your gut health.
Christine Pope is a naturopath and nutritonist based at Elemental Health St Ives. She is passionate about including more vegetables in the diet and encouraging her local cafes to provide more tasty breakfast options. Appointments are available online at www.elementalhealth.net.au or on (02) 8084 0081.