Vegetables are a great way to get more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in your diet. They boost your immune system, support your gut health and can help protect against health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. Here are 8 easy ways you can increase your daily vegetable intake:
- Add a vegetable to your breakfast
Start the day with a nutritious breakfast that includes fresh vegetables. It’s an easy way to get more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in your diet and it will help you feel full all morning:
- Vegetable-filled omelettes or frittatas
- Avocado toasts with egg on top
- Fruit and vegetable smoothies
- Sautéed veggies for a side dish
- Baked breakfast dishes such as shakshuka
2. Try a lettuce wrap or veggie bun
Using lettuce as a wrap or certain veggies as buns in place of tortillas and bread is an easy way to eat more veggies. Lettuce wraps can be used as a good stand-in for tortilla wraps, low carb sandwiches and bunless burgers. You can also use tougher, more nutrient-dense greens like collards, kale, or chard. Just blanch the greens and pat them dry before wrapping. Additionally, portobello mushroom caps, sliced sweet potatoes, halved red or yellow peppers, tomato halves and sliced aubergine make excellent buns. Lettuce wraps and veggie buns are an easy way to reduce your calorie intake – 1 lettuce leaf contains only one calorie.
3. Add different vegetables to sauces and pasta dishes
Pasta dishes are an easy way to get more vegetables in your day. Try adding different vegetables, like spinach or mushrooms, to your pasta dish. Spinach is rich in Vitamin A, C, E, K, calcium and iron whilst mushrooms contain high amounts of Vitamin D, Vitamin B1 and potassium. You can make a fresh vegetable pasta sauce, which is great for picky eaters or children – once they are blended in, you won’t even know they’re there! When cooking tomato-based sauces, simply add some veggies and herbs of your choice to the mix, such as chopped onions, carrots, courgettes, bell peppers and leafy greens.
4. Make veggie-based homemade soups
Soups are an excellent way to consume multiple servings of vegetables at once. You can make veggies the “base” by pureeing them and adding herbs and spices. Adding even a small number of extra veggies, such as carrots or broccoli, to soups is a great way to increase your intake of fibre, vitamins, and minerals. You can make seasonal soups, like pumpkin or butternut squash soup, to warm up on a cold day.
5. Turn your vegetables into crisps!
Make eating vegetables fun and whip up homemade crisps using beets, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts or kale. Baking thin slices or leaves with a little salt gives you a crunchy snack or side. Even children and picky eaters can’t resist vegetables when they’re served like crisps! Create your favourite flavour combinations by adding herbs and spices for lower-fat homemade vegetable crisps.
6. Make cauliflower rice
Cauliflower rice is made by pulsing cauliflower florets in a food processor into small granules. You can then use it raw or cooked as a substitute for regular rice, as a base for other foods or to bullk stews and soups. It is significantly lower in carbs than regular rice, with only 5 grams of carbs per cup, compared to 53 grams in a cup of white rice. Additionally, cauliflower is particularly high in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium. You can also “rice” other vegetables like broccoli, beets, carrots, courgettes and sweet potatoes.
7. Stuff some bell peppers
Stuffed bell peppers make a simple and heathy meal made by stuffing halved bell peppers with cooked meat, beans, rice, and seasonings, and then baking them in the oven. Bell peppers are a rich source of many vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A and C. You can increase the nutrition content by including even more veggies such as some onions, spinach, tomatoes or riced cauliflower.
8. Add veggies to stews and casseroles
Including extra veggies in casseroles is an easy way to increase your intake whilst adding bulk, texture and taste. By adding frozen vegetables at the end of cooking time, the veggies will retain their nutrients and will be tender because they’ve already been cooked, so all you need to do is heat them up! You can reduce calories and carbs in your casseroles by replacing the grains with veggies, such as broccoli, mushrooms, celery or carrots. Adding green beans is popular and 1 cup contains good amounts of vitamins and minerals and 33 micrograms (mcg) of folate, a necessary B vitamin.
If you’d like more help with your diet and nutrition, want more energy or are suffering from an ongoing health condition, please get in touch for a complimentary 15-minute health review.