They're an excellent source of disease-fighting antioxidants, are high in filling fibre and low in kilojoules, but 90 per cent of us still aren't eating enough vegetables. Still, many dieticians urge us to aim even higher than the minimum five serves daily. "We should strive for more like five to seven serves a day," says dietitian Matt Lim of Nutrition Smart. Here are some clever new ways to veg out:
Be a vegie smuggler
Not keen on vegies? Try 'smuggling' vegetables into your meals. Study volunteers rated meals with or without 'hidden' pureed vegetables equally tasty, yet almost doubled their daily vegie intake when they ate the doctored meals, reports The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. "You can add puree to everything from stews and soups to cakes and muffins," suggests Lim. up the latest issue of Good Health magazine.
Flex your green thumb
Whether you've got a sprawling yard or a planter box on the balcony, taking up gardening makes you more likely to eat your vegetables, finds a new US study. And it doesn't matter if you can only spare half an hour here and there – the study showed the hours per week people spent gardening wasn't a factor in how much fresh produce they ate.
Mix up your meals
Vegetables aren't just limited to lunch and dinner – the morning meal is an ideal opportunity to sneak in a serve. "If you're making scrambled eggs or an omelette for breakfast, throw in some mushrooms, a bit of spinach and some fresh herbs," advises Lim. "It makes a really nourishing, satisfying breakfast and it's a lot healthier than most breakfast cereals."
Strike a flavour balance
"What stops people eating vegetables is they are often not prepared properly and the flavours are unbalanced," says Lim. "For vegetables to be really appetising, they should hit all parts of your tongue: sweet, salty, sour and bitter." Try these combos: char-grilled capsicum, onion, tomato, mushrooms and asparagus with a vinaigrette; or caramelised onion and capsicum with bitter salad leaves, like radicchio or dandelion.
For more nutrition and wellbeing advice, pick up the latest issue of Good Health…