English Summer is upon us and the fields are awash with green. From peas to spinach, cucumbers and lettuce the possibilities are endless. Yet vegetables seem to be the category of food that most often gets pushed around the plate. Sure, they’re not as exciting as that juicy piece of meat or that heavenly piece of cheesecake. Even a plate of fruit is more lustrous than a plate of vegetables. So why, you might ask, do we have to eat our vegetables?
Quite simply, vegetables are one of the key cornerstones to optimal health.
Full of fibre and antioxidants, vegetables are nature’s solution to preventing chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Eating a diet full of brightly coloured vegetables ensures that your digestive tract works at an optimal pace. They also make you feel fuller and aid in weight loss.
A recommended 5 portions of vegetables and fruit per day ensures you get the full benefits from these super foods, however the average person consumes nearly half that. So how can we make it easier to include more vegetables into your diet?
1. Drink your vegetables
For all you vegetable haters, this is the easiest way to increase your vegetable intake. Vegetables can easily be hidden in shakes and smoothies. Make your smoothies with 60% fruit and 40% vegetables. Spinach is the easiest to disguise, with no impact on the delicious fruity taste of a smoothie.
2. Make a vegetable dip
That huge bag of baby spinach looks intimidating, but have you ever thrown it into your blender? It becomes less than half a cup! Instead of hummus, make a delicious dip with vegetables, like red pepper or spinach dip.
Here’s an easy dip recipe:
1 bag of baby spinach
1/2 cup of vegan mayonnaise or low fat mayo or low fat yogurt
1 packet of onion soup mix
3. Buy frozen vegetable mixes
Contrary to popular belief, frozen vegetables have just as much nutritional value as fresh vegetables. In fact, sometimes frozen vegetables have even more vitamins and minerals per serving because these vegetables are harvested and frozen when they are at their peak in nutritional value.
The convenience of using frozen vegetable blends is parallel to none. Wastage is minimal as you only use what you need, and then place it back into your freezer for another night.
4. Sneak veggies into spaghetti and pizza
Most people like spaghetti and pizza, which makes them a good place to sneak in some vegetables. Chop any vegetables your family likes and add them to the spaghetti sauce. The smaller you chop them, the less likely anyone will notice that they’re there. Vegetables can also be a tempting topping for your pizza, adding fibre and nutrients.
With these simple tips hopefully we can all get more of the greens onto our plate and into our body!