Reach Your Daily Quota
Now you have that optimum “10” in mind, here are a few ideas to help you reach that target.
Try adding a handful of fresh berries or a chopped banana to your breakfast cereal or porridge, and add mushrooms or tomatoes to your scrambled eggs.
Don’t forget that frozen vegetables count and it doesn’t take long to microwave a bowl of veggies if you’re in a hurry and no time to prepare fresh veggies.
Canned fruit and veg count too and they are equally quick to prepare, but do choose fruit in juice rather than syrup and veg canned in water without added salt or sugar.
Make your own pizza, using a thin based pizza and add extra veggies – sweetcorn, extra sliced tomato, chopped mushroom or some sliced roasted pepper.
There are countless flavours of soup to try, and soups are very simple to make. Start by chopping up a variety of vegetables (onions, carrots, butternut squash, radish, swede, parsnips, sweet potato, mushrooms, sweetcorn and peppers all work well) and sautéing them with a little vegetable oil. Then add homemade or low-salt stock and maybe a can of chopped tomatoes and allow your vegetables to simmer until tender. Either leave soup chunky (like a stew) or blend it to a smooth texture.
Make your own Bolognese sauce and try adding some grated carrot to it.
Don’t just have plain old mashed potatoes, try mashing different root veggies – a mix of potatoes and sweet potatoes, leek and swede mash, cauliflower and potato, parsnip and apple, ring the changes, mash will be tasty and include more veg. These would all make tasty topping for a pie instead of the usual pastry.
When roasting potatoes add a selection of vegetables – parsnips, butternut squash, swede, carrots, peppers, cauliflower and mushrooms are all delicious roasted. Be sparing when adding oil; simply brushing oil on vegetables with a pastry brush is enough.
Pack out those stirfrys with lots of veggies, chopped onion, garlic, peppers and mushrooms when browning your chicken or lean beef, and then broccoli, carrots, sweetcorn, peas, curly kale, spinach and beansprouts.
An omelette is a great way to boost your vegetable count. Onion, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, sweetcorn, peas and spinach all work very well when added to the egg mixture. Or you could make a twist on a Spanish omelette, using sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.
Mashed avocado or banana make tasty toppings for a slice of toast. Try them as alternatives to your usual lunch or as a substantial snack. Bananas are a great source of energy and nutrients, and avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, which can help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Avocados also contain fibre and a range of essential vitamins.
Liven up your sandwiches with some salad veg, or add a small salad to the plate.
Swap those sugary snacks or a piece of fruit or a few crudités – cucumber sticks, peppers, carrot sticks, cauliflower and broccoli florets with a salsa dip or some hummus.
Sweet potatoes are a good source of the antioxidant beta-carotene. To make sweet potato wedges, cut it into equal-sized chunks, brush with a little vegetable oil and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes. For extra flavour, add a sprinkling of paprika, cumin or chilli before baking.
Add beans, lentils and pulses to stews, bakes and salads – don’t forget though beans and pulses count as a maximum of one portion a day.
Make your own vegetable crisps from beetroot, sweet potato and parsnip, without added fat or salt. Slice the vegetables thinly, place on a lined tray and place in the oven at 175C for 20 mins or until dried out.
Make sure to have a salad or vegetable side dish with your main meal
Having a well-stocked fruit bowl adds colour to your home and may encourage you to snack on fruit rather than grabbing biscuits or cake. Fruit is naturally low in calories and also contains fibre, which helps you feel fuller for longer.
To get the maximum benefits, you need to eat different types of fruit and vegetables. This is because different fruit and vegetables contain different combinations of fibre, minerals and other nutrients. So aim to include a wide variety of fruit and vegetables to get the most nutritional benefit.