When we were kids, our parents went to great lengths to trick us into eating more veggies. Sneaking spinach into our bolognese sauce, cutting them into cute shapes, drowning them in cheese…you had to admire their creativity.
Then, much to their relief, we grew up and realised that not only are vegetables amazing for us, they don’t even taste that bad! In fact, there are actually some we would eat by choice (wait…avocado is a vegetable, right?!)
Even so, it can still be tricky to get our recommended vegetable intake of 5-6 servings in each day. But with a few simple tricks, you can sneak them into your meals (just like your parents did!) and barely even notice you’re eating vegetables.
1. Drink your greens
You may have heard that it’s better to eat your fruits than to drink them, as you lose a lot of the nutrients in juicing them. But the same actually doesn’t go for juicing vegetables! In fact, juicing vegetables can actually retain the nutrients and minerals lost in certain cooking methods. Of course, eating your veggies is going to fill you up more but drinking them in a homemade juice (not pre-packaged) is a good way to get more in when you’re in a pinch—as is investing in a high-quality greens powder like Amazonia Raw Greens.
2. Get creative with cauliflower
Gone are the days when cauliflower was just a vegetable our parents tried to force us to eat. Now, it’s used to make pizza bases, tortillas, as a substitute in rice dishes… you name it. It also tastes fantastic baked in the oven! Not only is it a great way to sneak some extra fibre and nutrients into your dish, it’ll help you cut carbs (if that’s what you’re into.) Can’t be bothered dicing it up or don’t own a food processor? We’ll let you in on a lazy girl’s secret: Woolworths now serves pre-diced cauliflower rice as part of its Simply Steam range!
3. Use them as noodles
Speaking of versatile veggies, how good are zucchini, sweet potato and spaghetti squash? All of these can be used as substitutes in pasta or noodle dishes and you’ll barely be able to tell the difference. If you can’t bear the thought of breaking up with your beloved spaghetti, you could always mix in your zoodles (or soodles) too, as an easy way to bump up your veggies for the day.
4. Get saucy
Did you know you can also make the sauce for your pasta from vegetables? Cauliflower is a perfect substitute for cream in an alfredo sauce, while asparagus makes a great accompaniment for a raw pesto sauce. Or, you could always just go old school and pop some easily disguised veggies like mushrooms or spinach into your sauces.
5. Bake with them
We know, putting vegetables into baked goods seems like a weird thing to do. But not only can you barely taste them, they can actually make the texture even better! From cauliflower and raspberry cheesecake to sweet potato brownies and spinach peppermint slice, the possibilities are endless! You can even use zucchini to make a low-carb, gluten-free bread, as per this recipe from Teresa Cutter.
6. Go wild with garlic
I am of the opinion that almost everything tastes better doused in garlic butter and vegetables are no exception. My favourite way to boost my veggie intake for the day is to saute spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, broccolini and whatever else I have in the fridge in garlic butter (just a slick of butter mixed with fresh, minced garlic.) I’ll have it with scrambled eggs for breakfast or with meat for lunch or dinner—so delicious!
7. Make chips with them
This one solves two different problems—it helps you get more veggies into your day and gives you something healthy to snack on when you’re craving something salty. Sweet potato is always great to make chips with, as is zucchini. Try these roasted sweet potato chips with a lemon cashew dip from The Fit Foodie.