One of the phrases you’ve probably heard a lot through your life is: “Eat your veggies!”. However, if you are like most of us, you probably still don’t eat enough of them. A study performed by Horticultural Innovation Australia reported that many Australians fail to consume the recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetables. In fact, only one in five Aussies meet the recommended servings of two fruits and five vegetables a day, say experts.
Although junk food sometimes may be more appealing than healthy food, there has never been a more crucial time for Australians to implement healthier eating into their lifestyle. Research has shown that over 12 million Aussies are overweight and according to experts, adding just one extra serving of vegetables to your diet could have considerable heart health benefits. But how can you fit them in?
You don’t have to go vegan to stay healthy and fit – you just need to create healthy eating habits that will stay with you for the long run. But for even the most health-conscious eaters, getting more of these nutrients can be a challenge. Here are some tricks that you can try for adding more fruit and veggies to your daily diet.
Prepare Veggie-Based Soups
Soups are a fantastic way to consume multiple servings of vegetables at once. You can cook veggies into a broth- or cream-based soup or make them the “base” by pureeing them and adding spices. No matter how many vegetables you add, you’ll be still increasing your intake of vitamins, fibre and minerals. Here are a few veggie-based soup recipes for you to try:
Blend Into Juicing
If I had to suggest one thing that could transform your health today, I’d tell you to buy a cold press juicer. Juicing gives you a new, practical way to include many important nutrients that fruit and veggies have to offer to your diet.
Wondering what does cold press juicer mean? A cold press juicer refers to a pressing machine that crushes and presses the fruit and vegetable, getting you the highest juice yield possible. This juicer doesn’t produce heat, which means you get healthier and more nutritional juice. You can make cold-pressed juice in larger quantities and store it in the fridge, ready for when you are.
A simple online search and you’ll find out that juicing is the fasted way of getting nutrition into the body. Cold juicers extract the juice out of fruits and veggies by separating it from the fibre. What you get at the end are a rich juice and a tasteless pulp (because all the goodness has been taken out). The juice, which is packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, is very easy for your body to absorb, so it gets to your cells fast to nourish and repair them.
Furthermore, the heating process in cooked food destroys the micronutrients in vegetables by changing their chemical composition. Juicing raw vegetables harness their highest possible nutritional values. One fresh juice every day will give you more energy and improve your mood. And the variety of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients will protect your cells from disease and even premature ageing.
Here are the best fruits and vegetables to juice:
- Hard fruits – pears, apples, pomegranates and cranberries;
- Soft fruits – berries, pineapples, citrus, tomatoes, mangos, melons, nectarines, peaches, kiwis and plums;
- Hard vegetables – kale, spinach, mint, chard, parsley, cilantro and cucumber;
- Soft vegetables – celery, cabbage, carrots, ginger root, beets, sweet potato and fennel.
Instead of snacking on cookies or chips, consider having healthier alternatives on hand. Some great options include celery and peanut butter, baby carrots and hummus, a piece of fruit or sugar snap peas. Know that a 1/2cup of most raw fruits or veggies equals one serving. It helps to leave fruit in obvious sight. You’re more likely to grab a handful of cherries or grasp if they are sitting on the counter displayed in a nice bowl. Plus, if they are in your view, you’ll grab a banana or orange on the way out the door.
Add Veggies to Sauces and Dressings
Adding extra vegetables to your sauces and dressings is a smart way to increase your veggie intake. Simply add some veggies and herbs of your choice to your marinara sauce mixes, such as chopped carrots, onions, bell peppers and leafy greens like spinach. Pureeing roasted root vegetables is a great way to make rich sauces with an Alfredo-like feel. Think of sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, squash, beets, purple yam and kohlrabi.
Make a Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Cauliflower is one of the most versatile vegetables to cook with. You can roast it, rice it, puree it for silky goodness, stick it in a stew and even make it into a pizza crust. Replacing a regular, flour-based pizza crust with a cauliflower pizza crust is as easy as mixing finely chopped and drained cauliflower with eggs, almond flour and some seasonings. Then you can add your own toppings such as tomato sauce, fresh veggies and cheese. In addition to lots of fibre, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, cauliflower a cup of cauliflower contains only about 5 grams of carbs and 26 calories.