How do you eat your vegetables?
Fresh? Frozen? Canned?
If possible, get your fruit and vegetables as fresh as possible. They lose their nutrients after picking so if they've been in storage for weeks or traveled thousands of miles, they're less beneficial than if they've come from a local farmer - or even your own back garden. Another advantage to growing your own is you are more likely to eat it. If you have kids get them involved with the growing and this could result in them being more open to eat veggies they might have shunned before.
Second choice would be frozen. Most nutrients are preserved with freezing, so this is a good fallback option.
If possible, avoid canned fruit and veg. This is because it has to be heavily processed to prevent it going off, which can reduce their nutritional value. They are often canned with sugar and salt solutions, which aren't a good idea, either.
The only exception is tinned tomatoes. The lycopene ("superfood ingredient") in tomatoes is more readily absorbed by the body when they are cooked, so tinned tomatoes are ok...just watch out for added salt and sugar. Read those labels!
How Can I Make It Easy To Increase My Portions?
Well of course you've all read last months blog about 5 or 10 a day. Here's a little equation to help you as well.
"5 a day" = two vegetables with each meal + a fruit or vegetable snack or a glass of pure fruit juice diluted (so that its not too high in sugar).
When you break it down like that, it's really not so bad!
If you're dealing with kids (or adults!) who are fussy about their veggies, there are plenty of ways you can disguise them.
- Try grating a peeled apple into breakfast porridge or more adventurous use carrot or parsnip (sweet veggies)
- Puree some dried apricots (sulphur dioxide free, normally the dark looking ones) with a pear and add to natural yoghurt for a delicious, quick, very sweet pudding.
- Make a vegetable sauce for pasta - it can easily include tomatoes, courgettes, onions, mushrooms, kale, cauliflower... Your imagination is the limit! For really unsure customers, puree it first, so they can't spot the veggies.
- Make delicious soups. They're great for using vegetables and taste delicious. Soups are useful because you cook the vegetables in the stock you eat with the soup, so no vitamins are wasted.
For more great ideas check out: The Art of Hiding Vegetables: Sneaky Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy Food by Karen Bali & Sally Child.Click here for the amazon link.
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