You are already aware that eating more vegetables helps you to be healthier however for some of us in in the southern hemisphere as we progress towards Spring can find it a struggle to get more than five plus a day.
Is it really five plus a day?
The eating guides I create my foodies actually include at least 9 servings of produce (mostly vegetables and some fruit) each day.
Clients are often surprised that even though they eat vegetables their portions are smaller than what they need to achieve sustainable health.
There is a perception that it is expensive to include the volume of produce (fruit and vegetables) to meet your nutrition requirements. However even when I was a beneficiary I managed to stay healthy and afford to eat vegetables at two meals a day and fruit at one.
It is mostly about perception and understanding how to be satisfied on less.
After listening to the challenges that many people struggle to include their quota of vegetables each day I have decided to share with you some ways of increasing your vegetable intake.
If you have read my other blogs or worked with me before you will be aware of the importance of ‘eating your water’. If you are wondering what this means then it relates to the volume of water content you absorb from your food.
Simply because your body needs to be two thirds water and to optimise your gut health, your metabolism and achieve fat loss permanently you are what you eat.
You also need to drink your water but when you eat your water it is absorbed more efficiently.
If you only at vegetables you would be quite hungry because even though they are jam packed full of vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants and water they are low in protein (check out my blog “Can you feel satisfied on plant based proteins” for more information on that topic).
Vegetables are a great vehicle for optimizing your health because they cover so many essential nutrients that aids balancing your digestion and helping you to eliminate toxins from your body.
They are also a precursor to a healthy microbiome and your gut creating healthy bacteria for immunity.
The challenge can be understanding how to make them taste great so that you want to eat more of them.
The other barrier for many people I have worked with that struggle to eat the required volume of vegetables it that their first introduction to the vegetable didn’t go very well.
It is no surprise that vegetables are an acquired taste because the primitive part of the brain saw plants and anything colourful as poisonous during the hunter gatherer era. Thank goodness we have evolved in this modern day to discover the many benefits that vegetables give us.
However if you have vegetable aversion because of their taste, texture or mindset block because how you were first introduced to them – you are not alone.
There is no need to fear – there are plenty of ways you can include them to help make them taste great.
If you know someone that has aversion to vegetables suggesting the benefits of ‘why’ they should eat vegetables is not going to help them down their half a plate of produce.
You need to find ways of showing them that they are safe to eat and simplifying how you introduce them.
Finding out the types of vegetables they do accept is a start. Next identify what their aversion is related to texture, taste or mindset. When vegetables are introduced in a way that accommodates taste preferences it is easier to expand the repertoire from there.
Here are six solutions to getting your five plus a day without force feeding yourself vegetables:
1. Adding flavour to your vegetables
EXAMPLE: What sauces do you like the taste of and is there any particular dressing you have tasted when you have been at a restaurant that have improved the taste. Adding a teaspoon of pesto to steam broccoli can completely change the bitterness that is first encountered from eating broccoli and you get the health benefits of basil.
2. Adding proteins to vegetables can alter what tastes are received on the palate first so if you lean to savoury foods versus sweet add nuts to your stir fries and steam veggies.
EXAMPLE: Adding flaked almonds to cooked vegetables or salads and some dried fruit if you have a sweet tooth is a great way of balancing your palate for satisfaction.
Making a salsa and or guacamole to dip your corn chips into is a great way of getting produce into you without feeling like you are eating a large plate of veggies.
Tomatoes contain Lycopene a powerful antioxidant – you can think of it like you are detoxing as you chip and dip! Too easy.
3. Smoothies are a great way of getting produce into your body when you might usually feel a little adverse towards their texture.
EXAMPLE: Use a base that you do like that taste of and one way of masking the flavour (depending on the ingredients) is using coconut milk as a base. This is also a helpful anti-inflammatory food that will aid beating the bloat.
4. Creating coleslaw and finely slicing the cabbage, adding spring onions for flavour, herbs like mint and coriander then finishing it off with a dressing or mayonnaise is a great way to enhance the flavour of the dish and feel like you are eating in a café or restaurant.
EXAMPLE: Adding a little spice like chipotle is another way you can take the edge off the bitter taste of raw vegetables.
5. Reduce the texture of your vegetables by including a mixture of them as a mash when you are eating them with other proteins like meat, fish and poultry. This way you can make a light gravy that complements the protein and mash.
EXAMPLE: Pumpkin, kumara, parsnip and carrot with a little butter and some steam spinach blended through is a great way to increase the nutrition value of your meal and get the water content from your vegetables.
If you would like to take the hassle out of health eating and simplify it with this season's guilt free recipe collection so you can get your 5+ a day without feeling like you have to force feed yourself half a plate of vegetables – then come and join me in the guilt free food school now.
Join before 30th of September 2018 and you will receive your own personalised portion guide absolutely FREE (normally an extra $125 NZD on top of membership) – click here to join now