The recommended amount is at least 5 servings a day of fruit and veg and many of us struggle to hit that target. The University of London in 2014 came out and said we should be aiming for 7 so how do we make sure we up our vegetable intake?
I call it ‘crowding out’. Fill your plate with more vegetables you’ll soon see the benefits. You’ll be getting more fibre, nutrients and antioxidants and will feel fuller so won’t be so tempted to add to overindulge on other foods that aren’t so good for you!
Here are some tips to get more onto your plate:
- Instead of reaching for a sugary or salty snack such as crisps, go for carrot, celery, sugar snap peas and cucumber sticks – add some almond nut butter or some walnut butter or some hummus. The protein will keep you fuller for longer. Great as a mid- morning snack too! They are easy to transport too and requiring little preparation! I keep a jar of my favourite nut butters at work.
- Replace some (or all of your carbs and I’m talking potatoes, rice and pasta here) with vegetables or salad – eat as much of these as you can manage!
- Try some kale chips – you can buy these or even better make your own. See my recipe for KALE CHIPS below – it can take practice to get them just right and the topping to your taste so do experiment.
- Instead of mash try pureed pumpkin, carrot or turnip or cauliflower rice…instead of potato mash by steaming or cooking the cauliflower till tender, mash or blending with a little milk (I use almond or rice milk) and adding seasoning to taste.
- Substitute your pasta with zucchini noodles instead (I use a spiralizer to make mine) but you can peel or grate and I keep the skin on mine.
- Use lettuce or cabbage leaves as a wrap instead of your tortilla wrap.
- Find vegetables boring? – steam some spinach or kale with garlic or for a change roast some vegetables in olive oil.
- For fussy kids whizz up some vegetables in a food processor and add them to soups and sauces, e.g your normal spaghetti bolognaise…They won’t know they are there.
- If all else fails stir in a spoonful of green superfood powder. (Green powders can be found in health food stores).
- Eat whole fruit. Whilst fruit is good it contains high level of fructose (sugar although natural it is still sugar) so I suggest you limit to one or 2 portions a day ideally in between meals and go for lower sugar choices such as berries. Steer away from fruit juices as the sugar overload that can spike your blood sugar and doesn’t contain the fibre of the whole fruit. If you do have a juice make sure it is a mix of 3 vegetables to 1 portion of fruit.
What are some of your top tips for getting more veggies onto your plate? Can you share with us how that made you feel?
For a healthy snack, try my home-made kale chips recipe!