The Australian guidelines recommend 5 serves of vegetables everyday. For those unsure a serve is equal to 1 cup of salads and ½ cup of cooked veggies. More recent research however indicates that 5 serves per day is the absolute minimum if we want optimal health and longevity. That’s why it’s important to look for ways to get more veggies into more meals. Here are some simple tips for increasing your daily veggie intake…
1. Use frozen veggies. There seems to be some unwarranted pessimism when it comes to frozen veggies but freezing is the best preserving technique when it comes to retaining nutrients. After a long day it’s far easier to throw frozen veggies in the microwave than it is to peel and prepare from scratch.
2. Aim for half your plate at dinner. In order to reach 5 serves its important to make the most of your evening meal, which is normally our largest. When you look at your plate vegetables should make up at least half of you meal. Also the more variety of colors the better.
3. Be inventive with snacks. Cut up carrots or cucumber and enjoy with a healthy dip like hummus. This is a great snack and it easy to transport with you. Preparing a big batch on the weekend and storing in water ensures they keep for a long time.
4. Get 2 serves at lunchtime. When veggies are missing at lunch it makes it difficult to reach your target. Make sure you have at least 2 serves at lunch, which can easily be achieved with a mixed salad or veggie soup. It’s easy to carry around salads in an airtight container. To make salads really tasty add ingredients like red onion, sundried tomatoes, olives, feta, walnuts and balsamic vinegar.
5. Juice them up! Green juices are definitely in vogue at the moment so there is no shortage of funky recipes to choose from on the internet. Try and add some dark green vegetables like kale or spinach to take advantage of their antioxidant and phytochemical potency!
6. Roast cauliflower instead of chips. They may be made from potato but I don’t’ consider hot chips as a contributor to your 5 serves of daily veggies. Instead of chips try roasting cauliflower pieces sprinkled with olive oil and sea salt. Trust me they are just as good as potato chips!!
7. Late night crunch. There is something relaxing about crunching on raw veggies late at night. Try crunching and munching on capsicum, carrots and celery.