Did you know?:
- Vegetables are a rich source of many key nutrients, including potassium, fiber, folic acid and vitamins A, E and C.
- Studies have shown that eating a diet rich in vegetables may reduce risk for stroke, cancer, heart diseases and type-2 diabetes.
- Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. None have cholesterol. So, unless you pair them with fattening sauces or cook them in too much oil, they are an excellent aid to weight loss and fitness.
- Dietary fibre from vegetables, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce cholesterol and may lower risk of heart disease. Fibre is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulitis and fibre-containing foods such as vegetables help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.
Which brings us to the question: are you getting your daily quota of vegetables?
If you don’t count potatoes – which should be considered a starch rather than a vegetable—the average person rarely gets even three servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
The problem with eating vegetables is quite simple: many of us simply don’t like them very much. If you are among those who turn up their nose at the sight of broccoli and beans, here are some sneaky ways to have your veggies their being boring.
There’s a simple way to sneak more vegetables into almost anything: chop or finely grate them. This makes them easy to blend into other foods that you enjoy. So, you could knead them into dough or mix them up in your salad, without thinking. Here are some tried and tasted ideas to help you get your recommended daily servings of vital vegetables.
Add plenty of peppers, onions and mushrooms to your omelettes and frittatas. Give a broccoli boost to scrambled eggs. Again, chopping them up really finely makes them unnoticeable. The only way you or fellow lachanophobe might notice is when the egg dishes start tasting better.
- Lightly stir-fry a bunch of diced veggies in olive oil and stir them into cooked oats. This savoury twist on the standard brown-sugar-and-fruit mix and is sure to become a new breakfast hit.
- Toss finely chopped vegetables into soup or lentils – you will get more flavor, better texture and of course, all those nutrients. Try adding finely chopped carrots, green beans, celery, and mushrooms to soups. Or you can try your own combinations.
- When frying olive oil, garlic and tomatoes for your sauce, add a handful of baby spinach. It will wilt and cling to your pasta adding a tasty and healthy twist.
- Cook rice with fresh peas. Sprinkle herbs and mint leaves on the rice when done. This is one of the most comforting rice dishes in the world, best enjoyed with plain yogurt and a serving of crunchy salad.
- Add pureed cauliflower to mashed potatoes. Or chopped spring onions and kale to make the popular Irish dish of colcannon.
- White sauce does seem like a strange place for vegetables, but guess what: pureed cauliflower blends beautifully into the sea of cream, carrying with it a healing arsenal of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
- Add some finely chopped veggies to a tomato and onion base. Peppers, aubergines, squash, beetroot, carrots, mushrooms—once cooked in with the sauce, any of these will add to the nutrition and taste.
Can you pass on any tips of your own to us as I’m sure other readers would appreciate them? Please write to us at email@example.com or add a post on our website.
by Tina Foster, Mature Times health editor