When you think of adding extra vegetables to your meals, don’t just stick to a few tried and tested favourites. See if you can try one new food each week to help boost your five a day – or seven a day if you include portions of fruit – or if you routinely switch between twenty or more different fruit and veg already, try new ways of livening up yor favourite recipes. Think about the different colour groups and how they can be included.
- add blueberries, raspberries or sliced banana to your breakfast cereals
- don’t just stick to a green salad. Include tomatoes, bell peppers, red and spring onions, sweetcorn, apples, avocados…in fact just about anything you can think of!
- add sundried tomatoes, sliced olives or roasted bell peppers to your lunchtime sandwiches or wraps, together with the more conventional lettuce, grated carrot or cucumber slices.
- make your own pasta sauce base with tomatoes, then add mushrooms, yellow, green and red bell peppers
- add a layer of courgette (zucchini) and carrot slices into your lasagne. Spinach works too.
- add vegetables to stir-frys and stews, and make your own fruit smoothies – just don’t add too much sugar!
- add peas, cauliflower or mangetout to curries
- add mushrooms, tomatoes, asparagus, or a handful of chopped herbs such as chives or basil to scrambled eggs or omelettes.
- If you only have time to reheat a can of soup, throw in some sliced carrots or green beans. This is one time when frozen really is best, because they cook in the time it takes to heat the soup.
- include an extra portion of vegetables with your main meal – peas, carrots and sweetcorn are all quick and easy, while asparagus or broccoli only take a few minutes to steam, thus retaining maximum nutrients
- add extra vegetables to your pizza. Even a shop bought cheese and tomato pizza can be livened up with some sliced mushrooms, bell peppers, pineapple chunks or even sliced artichoke hearts.
- don’t avoid aubergine (eggplant) because of the amount of oil it absorbs. Try brushing each slice lightly with olive oil before popping them under the grill – much healthier!