We all know that eating plenty of fruit and veg is good for us. In Britain we are told to aim for 5 portions of different fruit and veg daily, but compared to the rest of the world we seem to be on the low side of recommended daily allowances. Did you know that the French are told to aim for 10 and in Japan they need 13 portions of veg and 4 of fruit to hit their quota each day!?
I might not always fully succeed, we eat out more than I would like, but at home I try to feed my family a healthy diet, I don’t cook highly processed meat, other than the odd sausage. I always aim to get at least two different types of veg on our dinner plate (not including potato) and the kids all take two pieces of fruit to school.
I have also never been one to hide fruit and veg in food, I want my children to embrace all foods, not be tricked into eating them (also I’m too lazy to finely chop/puree anything!) But sometimes we all need a little help getting more vegetables into our diets. After all, staring down at a plate half full of boiled peas, broccoli or cauliflower can get a little tedious and likely to put anyone off eating their dinner if it’s the 3rd such plate that week! So here are my…
1. When making pasta sauce or Lasagne add plenty of onions, peppers, mushrooms even courgettes. This will mean that you can bulk up with veg and use less meat, plus it tastes yummy!
2. A simple tin of chopped tomatoes can be added to many meals including casseroles, soups, pie fillings. It will enhance the flavour and give you nice little hit of antioxidants and vitamins.
3. Do some baking! No seriously, you can add raisins and other dried fruit to flapjacks and cookies, use vegetables like courgette and carrot to make cakes or muffins. Also Pineapple upside down cake is always a hit, which you can use any fruit like peaches, apples or pears in it’s place.
4. Soups and stews. Soups are a great way to use up leftover vegetables which will also reduce your food waste. Stews can be made with lot’s of different veggies, personally I add leeks, carrots, potatoes, swede, butternut squash , split lentils and pearl barley (I know these last two aren’t vegetables but they are healthy!)
5. Fruit salad, yummy yummy. Sorry had to slip that Wiggles reference in there! Kids love fruit salad, whether its from a tin or made fresh. Also remember that tinned and frozen fruit is just as good for you as fresh, if not better sometimes!
6. Smoothies. I love smoothies, although I don’t have anything to make them in at the moment, which is something I mean to rectify before the summer. I find frozen fruit is best but you can use fresh too.
7. Juicing. You can create all manner of wonderful fruit and veg concoctions with a juicer. Carrot and apple, with a hint of ginger is especially nice!
8. Mash it. Okay I know I said I don’t do hiding food but mashing carrot or swede into your potato can add a tasty twist to your cottage pie. Also, you have to try mashed cauliflower at least once in your life, it is surprisingly delicious!
9. Try a stirfry. There’s nothing more simple, or delicious, than throwing loads of vegetables such as beansprouts, onions, cabbage, mange tout, baby sweetcorn and water chestnuts along with some oil and a splash of soy sauce.
10. If all else fails add cheese! Obviously you don’t want to overdo the cheese at every meal but occasionally making a cheese sauce to pour over cauliflower and broccoli, grating some parmesan onto a pasta sauce or crumbling some blue cheese into a soup can really make or break your meal.
How do you like to add more fruit and veg to your diet? I’d love to hear you tips.
Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with Legal and General however all thoughts and opinions are my own.