Why are vegetables important? They contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals. They are also a good source of fiber which keeps the digestive system healthy. They also deliver phytochemicals and antioxidants which are essential for preventing cell damage and removing toxins from our body.
Canada’s Food Guide suggests that the average adult should eat about 7 – 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. For some people, meeting this guideline can be a huge challenge (especially those of us who aren’t big salad eaters)! However, by planning ahead, you can easily incorporate more vegetables into your meals and add on a few more servings of vegetables to your diet.
Here are three simple tips to sneak in more vegetables into your meals:
Instead of using store-bought, chemical-laden tomato sauce which are often high in sodium, try making a homemade version (here’s a simple recipe to try — Five Minute Tomato Sauce). Making your own sauce gives you the freedom to add in more vegetables, such as onions, bell peppers, carrots and celery. By adding in extra veggies, you enhance the sauce’s flavour and give it an instant nutrition boost! Experiment with different herbs and spices and use it as pasta sauce, pizza sauce or meatball sauce…the list is endless.
Puree vegetables into curry sauce.
Caramelized onions is the ultimate best option because it adds a lot of sweetness to the sauce. Other good options include carrots, bell peppers and corn kernels. Pureed vegetables will give a creamy texture to the sauce and the additional sweetness will definitely help to offset the spiciness of the curry flavour. By pureeing vegetables, you will be able enjoy the benefits of consuming more vegetables without risking to ruin the texture and flavour of the food.
Most people can’t resist rich and creamy mashed potatoes. Although it is a vegetable option, the healthiness of it decreases as you stir in the butter and milk. However, by adding in some mashed cauliflower, you can add back in some healthiness. Another option to mashed potato would be mashed sweet potatoes. The flavour and texture will be similar, with an added hint of sweetness and a great boost in fiber and beta-carotene (essential nutrient for keeping your eyes, skin and immune system healthy!).
If these options still cannot encourage you to eat more vegetables, perhaps it’s time to try through cookbooks that offer fail-proof recipes for more ideas on sneaking in healthy fruits and vegetables. Here’s two websites to get you started: The Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious.
What are some tricks you use to incorporate more vegetables into your meals?