Less than 10% of Australians eat enough vegetables. This is one of the most common things I notice in my practice. With the recommendations for vegetable intake at 5-6 serves per day (1 serve = 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked), getting enough vegetables is no easy feat unless you make a good effort to achieve this. But how can you incorporate more vegetables in your diet? Try these tips:
- Snack on vegetable sticks, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers between meals or while preparing dinner (great to curb the hunger)
- Add a vegetable juice into your day or some greens in your smoothie
- Add a side salad or steamed vegetables to meals
- Make main meals based around vegetables e.g. stir-fries or salad + protein
- Blend vegetables into sauces where less noticeable e.g. steamed zucchini and carrot can be added to a Bolognaise sauce and no one even needs to know its there! Or pureed steamed cauliflower could be used to thicken a soup or sauce.
- Make noodles and pasta out of zucchini and carrots using a spiralizer. Make your usual pasta sauce up and add them to lightly steamed / blanched zucchini or carrot noodles.
If your stir-fries often turn into a epic fail (overcooked and soggy vegetables – we’ve all been there!), try these tips:
- Have all ingredients you are using prepared & ready before you begin cooking. Stir-frying is a quick high heat cooking method so being prepared helps you avoid over cooking.
- Blanch some of the vegetables eg carrots, beans, zucchini in hot water for a few minutes before adding to the wok, this softens them slightly so that you don’t need a long cooking time, which can leave them soggy.
- Avoid cooking vegetables for too long, they should still be slightly crunchy!
- Add a great sauce. This can make or break your stir-fry. A sweet chilli sauce could have these 6 ingredients: soy sauce, samba chilli paste, grated ginger, lemon zest, lemon juice, sweetener (I like to use Natvia stevia but you can use honey or maple syrup)
- Get a good wok! More on this in a future post.
Read more on vegetables here.