Getting the ideal five servings of vegies a day can take a little creative imagination. Chrissy Freer shares some tasty ways to get more into your day!
1. Dressings to rev up flavour
Try serving your vegies with an easy home-made dressing bursting with flavour.
Wasabi yoghurt dressing
Combine low-fat natural yoghurt with a little wasabi paste to taste. Try a dollop on steamed new potatoes, or drizzle over salad leaves such as baby spinach.
Tomato, caper & lemon salsa
Finely dice three firm ripe roma tomatoes. Combine with 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 2 teaspoons chopped capers, a squeeze of lemon juice and 2 teaspoons olive oil. Spoon over steamed green vegetables, such as green beans, zucchini or broccolini.
2. Keep ‘em fresh
Keeping vegies crisp and fresh is important to make sure they get eaten. Some tips for keeping your veg looking their best include:
Tomatoes shouldn’t be refrigerated unless completely ripe. Keep in a cool place out of direct sunlight, to allow their full flavour to develop.
Salad leaves - zip lock bags are ideal to store these, just don’t pack too tightly as this can cause bruising. Keep in the crisper section, then wash and spin in a salad spinner before serving.
Carrots and cucumbers - store away from fruit, as these can cause the cucumbers to soften, and the carrots to become bitter. Keep carrots in a plastic bag and cucumbers in the crisper section.
3. Meatless Monday
Some of us (particularly men) tend to eat more meat than we should. Try nominating one day a week as a vegetarian day for the whole family. It forces you out of the meat and three veg rut and you’ll also discover new and yummy ways with vegies. Find tasty vegetarian recipes like the Mexican pizza.
4. Add lunchbox vegie snacks
We tend to eat fruit as snacks, but vegies are also the perfect snack food. Vegie sticks, such as carrot, celery, capsicum or even green beans, are great to have with your favourite low-fat dip, such as salsa or tzatziki. Ryvitas or Vita-Weats topped with sliced tomato or avocado are also delicious and healthy.
This easy vegie dip will have you savouring your mid-morning vegie snack:
Roasted pumpkin (or sweet potato) hommous:
Roast 250g peeled and diced pumpkin or sweet potato until golden. Blend with a 400g tin no-added-salt chickpeas, rinsed and drained, 1 tablespoon tahini, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 2 teaspoons olive oil. Serve with vegie sticks. Mmmmm!
5. Swap fruit juice for vegie juice
Fruit juices are often surprisingly high in sugar (bought juices can be as high as soft drink) and can add unwanted kilojoules to your day without you realising. Fresh vegetables juices, on the other hand, are low-kilojoule and have barely any sugar. Try replacing a fruit juice with a vegie juice, and if you can’t come at straight vegie, try half and half. For example, replace a fresh apple juice with apple, carrot, ginger and celery. Other great combinations include: Orange with apple, beetroot and celery, tomato, or apple, celery, parsley and spinach for a boost of nutritious greens.
You need to eat 5 serves of vegies a day. 1 serve = a cup of salad, 1/2 cup of cooked vegies or a medium potato.