Only four in every 100 Australians get the recommended five serves of Veggies per day. Just four per cent!!! We know that veggies are the holy grail when it comes to health as they are packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre. They help us manage our weight, improve our digestion and gut health and prevent an array of diseases including many cancers.
Yet the lure of convenient, packaged high fat, salt and sugar foods often proves too tempting (possibly for 96% of us!). So how can we get more veggies in our diet in a delicious way?
Turn them into Chips!
Turning veggies into chips is super easy and takes less than 10 minutes. Eat as a snack or an extra side dish with your main meal.
All you need is a Mandoline (not the musical kind). Pop the oven on 220C (fan forced), line a dish with baking paper, slice your chosen veggie (takes 30sec using the mandoline), lightly toss through some olive oil, spread sliced veggies on the baking tray, sprinkle with salt and bake for around 8min. The best veggies to use are:
- Sweet potato (or any potato)
- Butternut pumpkin
You can also bake your own kale chips by simply tearing up, tossing lightly in olive oil and baking.
Move over oats, hello veggies! You can very easily get three serves of veggies in your breakfast, meaning you’re over half way! Cook some eggs and add Sauteed mushrooms (or sprinkle on EMPOWdER), spinach and tomatoes - easy! How about baked beans and avocado, with some sauerkraut. Whip up an omelette packing it with veggies such as capsicum, coriander and peas. Save the fruit, yoghurt and nuts for an afternoon tea snack.
These can be a saviour when the traffic was bad and the cupboards are bare. The great thing about frozen veggies are they are vine ripened and snap frozen, meaning they retain a lot of nutrients. Keep a decent selection in the freezer so they will go with most meals. Grating some parmesan cheese, mixing some ricotta through, splashing some tamari or sprinkling sesame seeds over brings their flavour to life. Don’t over boil frozen veggies, blanch in boiling water and drain well.
Go to any Nutritionists house and their blender will reside permanently on the bench. Being able to whip up a quick smoothie can prevent many hangry moments (and poor snack choices). Throwing a veggie or two into a smoothie won’t ruin the taste but will amp up the health benefits. Try including a handful of spinach leaves, one quarter of an avocado, celery, zucchini, kale, and even fennel bulbs. Tip: blend in a few dates for some chewy surprises.
Screen Time is Green Time
How’s this for a snacktime rule... Whenever you watch TV, you are only allowed to snack on vegetables. Veggie chips (as per Tip #1), celery and carrot sticks with hummus, chickpeas, cucumber and cream cheese, and sugar snap peas in a cup (they are super sweet). What about popcorn you say!? Well corn is a vegetable after all… Ideally you would buy an air popper and cook with that, but otherwise cook on your stovetop with olive oil, or buy an organic brand (watch the calories and fat, they can be as high as chips).
Amelia Phillips is a nutritionist, exercise scientist and online health coach who has helped thousands live a healthier life through optimised nutrition and targeted supplementation.