Eating the ideal five serves of vegies a day can seem like trying to scale a mountain of greens. But with these ideas, you’ll discover vegies can be the tastiest part of your meal. So pull out the crisper and try these simple, tasty tactics.
1. Adding vegies to breakfast
Now hear us out – vegies can be delicious and filling too! If you’re making poached eggs on toast for brekkie, why not add a few slices of tomato? Or, wilt some baby spinach leaves in a pan and serve with an omelette. You can also try topping a toasted English muffin with low-fat ricotta, some halved cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. Instead of the usual honey or jam on toast, spread with avocado, then top with diced tomato, baby rocket and a squeeze of lemon – delicious!
2. Serve a balanced plate
When making dinner or lunch, try to use the balanced plate principle. Fill half your dinner plate with vegies or salad (e.g. salad greens, broccoli, carrot, beans), a quarter with lean protein (e.g. steak, chicken, fish, tofu, eggs) and the remaining quarter with carbohydrate (e.g. potato, pasta, sweet potato or rice).
3. Makeover mash
Make over your regular mashed potato to add extra vegies, nutrients and flavour!
Cauliflower and potato mash
Simmer 2 medium-large peeled and chopped potatoes with 2 cups cauliflower florets until tender. Drain, then mash until smooth. Stir through finely-chopped chives or parsley to taste.
Pea and mint mash
Simmer 2 medium-large peeled and chopped potatoes until tender. Add 1 cup of frozen peas in the last 3–4 minutes of cooking time. Drain, add 1 tablespoon freshly-chopped mint, a little skim milk and mash until smooth.
Creamy chive mash
Stir 2 tablespoons chopped chives and 2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream into your regular mashed potato.
Sweet potato and carrot mash
Instead of using regular potatoes, try simmering equal amounts sweet potato and carrot until tender, then mash until smooth (the kids will love it). No need to add milk or butter (extra health bonus!).
4. Sauce up your salads
Give new life to salads by adding a new dressing, such as:
Lime and chilli dressing
Combine 1 teaspoon finely-grated ginger, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon reduced-salt soy sauce, 1 finely-chopped small red chilli, and 2 teaspoons brown sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Try drizzling over Asian slaws, baby spinach or blanched Asian greens.
Orange, honey and spice dressing
Combine 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon honey, one quarter teaspoon ground cinnamon, half a teaspoon ground cumin and 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar. It’s delicious on mixed salad, blanched green beans, asparagus or broccoli.
5. Side salads
Get into the habit of serving a side salad with high carbohydrate meals like pasta, risotto or home-made pizzas, which can be quite low in vegetable content.
Even better, try serving a big plate of carrot sticks, halved cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, snow peas and more before the main course. This is a great way to get the kids to eat some vegetables before they fill up on their favourite foods such as pasta, rice or potatoes. You will end up eating a better balance of carbs and vegies, too. (see ‘A balanced plate’, point 2 above.)