It’s hard to admit, but deep, deep down, we all know we need to eat more vegetables. And not just eating two carrots instead of one – we should be eating more types of vegetables. Luckily for us, this is actually great news, because there’s a whole world of fantastically delicious vegetables out there, with an amazing range of flavours and textures. Once you know what to do with them, eating a more vegie-forward diet will be a breeze.
Not only does this mean giving yourself more of a variety of delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners, there’s countless nutritional benefits that go along with eating more – and more varied – veg.
Here are our top 13 ideas for boosting your veggie intake:
Be empowered. Chat to the producers and local suppliers. Visit your local farmers’ market when possible, or your local green grocer and see what’s on offer – the freshest and most abundant vegetables are often the cheapest as well, not to mention they’re tastier and more nutrient-dense. You also benefit from the satisfaction of knowing where your meal literally comes from.
The good oil. Fancying up your usual veg can be as simple drizzling with really good extra-virgin olive oil. You may have to spend a little extra on high quality olive oil, but the difference it makes to flavour is incredible.
Keep it simple. If you’ve bagged yourself some great produce, you should let it shine. The simpler techniques, like a super quick blanch or toss through a pan will yield outstanding results.
Try a new way of cooking technique. If you normally steam a particular veg, why not mix it up? Brussels sprouts, broccoli or cauliflower are great examples of vegetables that completely transform when they’re roasted. Try outdoor grilling or barbecuing vegetables in the warmer weather.
Add an acid. Not only do salads sparkle with a splash of tangy dressing, but a fresh squeeze of lemon or lime juice, or a dash sherry, wine or balsamic vinegar will do wonders on lightly blanched vegetables.
Get salty. Try good quality sea salt flakes, fancy smoked salt or a flavour-infused salt.
Grill or braise your salad. Not all leaves wilt in the heat – try char-grilling or even braising cos (romaine) lettuce. You will not be disdappointed.
Crunch in. Scatter your leafy greens or veggies with a little something crunchy for varied texture. Toasted nuts and seeds or some quickly pan-fried (in olive oil) hand-torn fresh sourdough breadcrumbs can do wonders.
Gather information. Ask your friends how they eat their veg. Flip through a cookbook or two. Watch some cooking shows. Browse the farmers’ market. Sometimes it’s just a matter of sparking your imagination.
Make vegetables the main event and go meatless one or two days per week.
Commit to trying a new vegetable every week or so. Ever tried spaghetti squash, celeriac or lotus root?
Go raw. Be practical and keep a supply of raw veg prepped and ready in easy-to-grab places. Stash sliced vegies in zip-lock bags in your handbag for snacking. Store a few days’ worth in a large container in the fridge.
Think ahead. Roast up a huge tray of roughly diced veg. Include sweet potato, zucchini (courgette), carrot, pumpkin, capsicum (bell peppers), broccoli, asparagus, sprinkle with dukkah or a spice mix like a shichimi togarashi, drizzle with olive oil, scatter with seeds and bake until tender. Cool, batch up and enjoy over leafy greens for the next few days.