The public health message is so strong that few of us are oblivious to it: we need five portions of fruit and vegetables every day to keep ourselves properly nourished and in good health.
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Yet most of us manage no more than a scant four servings a day. For some people, it’s hard to find ways to make fruit and vegetables part of their diet, whereas others just plain don’t like the stuff.
This article is dedicated to both groups. If you think about it, every meal or snack you eat presents an opportunity for you to get some of your daily quota. And you can do this in a variety of clever ways. There’s no need for you to sit stoically in front of huge salads or eat piles of raw fruit if you can’t stomach it. Where healthy eating is concerned, small changes bring big benefits.
Hidden in Your Favorite Meals
This is the first line of defense when you or your family members don’t like vegetables, and it even works with takeaway food. You’d be amazed how easily a big bag of spinach disappears into curry. Or you could be ultra-sneaky and replace a third of the meat in your homemade chilli con carne with kidney beans.
Even spaghetti bolognese provides the perfect chance to pack in the vegetables: ragu, the traditional Italian meat sauce in a bolognese is originally made with a vegetable base called sofrito. Consisting of finely diced carrot, celery and onions, sofrito gives your pasta sauce an authentic flavor and makes it healthier, too.
It’s interesting that even people who object to mushy vegetables tend to be big fans of dip, so if this is your weakness don’t be shy about indulging it: just make sure you make the dips yourself so you know exactly what’s gone into them. Homemade guacamole is the classic place to start your healthy dipping campaign, and a fantastic way of getting a whole range of goodies into your diet.
Even the most active of us likes to kick back from time to time and watch TV accompanied by a couple of beers and a bowl of snacks. As unpromising an opportunity as it might at first seem, this is the perfect time to eat more fruit and vegetables.
After all, these sugar and spice apple chips and curried zucchini crisps are way more interesting and satisfying than anything pre-packed in a bag or a box. But don’t just take my word for it—try it for yourself.
Instead Of Starchy Staples
Quite often, vegetables don’t find their place in our meal planning because we’re so focused on starchy staples like mashed potato or pasta. A foolproof way to bump up your vegetable intake is to substitute them for some or all of your usual carbohydrate ration.
Dessert time doesn’t have to be a nutrient-free zone. It’s as good an opportunity as any to add another portion of fruit or vegetables, and ones which aren’t screaming ‘botanical matter’ at you, either.
If you encountered them on your plate at a buffet, you’d never guess that these brownies were made from black beans. Or how about a delicious and decadent sandwich cake whose main ingredients are parsnips, cashews and coconut?
Whether you hate fruit and vegetables or are just baffled at how you’re supposed to manage five portions of the stuff a day, these suggestions will set you on the path to healthier eating.
Remember, small changes bring big benefits, and every meal or snack presents you with an opportunity to make better choices. And when you begin to notice the difference in the way you feel, there’s no chance you’ll want to go back to the way things were.