It’s all about the veg!
We’ve all read the articles and heard the news that it is better for our health and well-being, to increase our intake of fresh vegetables. However, do you find that this often feels like just yet another thing you must add to your to-do list?
So, here are my few tips and tricks that will help you and your family enjoy and increase your veggie intake.
The benefits of vegetables are vast, as each one has its own nutritional properties, hence the term eating the ‘rainbow’ where all the colors are included. These will change depending on whether you eat them raw or cooked, as not only does this often change their texture but it will also change the availability of the nutrients.
When we eat raw vegetables, it still contains all the vitamins and minerals, however, as soon as we start to cook them, they lose some of these nutrients. If you are someone who enjoys steaming your vegetables, keep the cooking water, it’s a great way of retaining all the nutrients. I then use it to make a sauce or add it to a smoothie. If you boil your vegetables, cooking them until their colors become vibrant, is a good rule of thumb to avoid having them soggy and lifeless on your plate.
Over the years, I have found that there are several ways to include more vegetables in our diet, without my family thinking that they’ve become rabbits! Especially when my children were younger, there were certain vegetables that were not as appealing to them. One trick I discovered was vegetable pies, I’m a huge fan of these, as they can be a complete meal. The allure for my kids was the “slight” cheese crust on top clearly made the vegetables appealing. This meal can easily be transformed into finger food by cutting it into smaller pieces for those quick cravings.
Soups are another great option, especially during the winter when we’re often looking for warm and comforting foods. Vegetable soups are really delicious, adding grains such as pearl barley, is a great option for increasing your fiber intake, maintaining blood sugar levels and making it a tasty hearty soup. They have the advantage of being quick and easy to make with the added bonus that you can use any leftover vegetables (before they start wilting in the fridge). Most soup recipes are time savers as well – they take under ½ hour! Creamy carrot and cauliflower soups are clear family favourites, I tend to add a bit of grated cheese for extra flavour and creaminess.
Another way is simply by using vegetables for dips. What I like to do is chop up some carrots and zucchini, then I add one of our favourite dips at the bottom of a jam jar followed by veggies sticks. This makes it a great option for packed lunches.
So get the chopping board and enjoy those veggies!
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