Fruit and vegetables are essential for a balanced diet. They are our main source of vitamins and they contain many other nutrients too that can help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of cancer and aid our digestive system. Many of us struggle to get our ‘five-a-day’ in. Below are just a few tips for helping you to get more fruit and veg into your diet in a healthy way.
Add fruit to your cereal
A great way to consume fruit in the morning is to add it to cereal. The best cereal for this is muesli – as this guide at itsgrowli.com explains, muesli is a great low-fat cereal option. Muesli goes particularly well with fruit such as bananas, raisins, blueberries and strawberries. If you want to get a little more adventurous, try kiwi, apple slices, mango, lychees and goji berries. You can also add some honey for added sweetness.
Add veggies to omelette
Egg is a great source of protein and contains many nutrients on its own. However, you can make egg-based meals like omelette and scrambled egg even more nutrient-packed by adding veggies. Peppers, onions, spinach, leek and tomatoes all work well in an omelette.
Drink fresh fruit juice at breakfast
You can get many of the nutrients of fruit by consuming fruit juice. Freshly-squeezed fruit juice is typically the healthiest option – some store bought fruit juices are low on fibre and may contain added sugar. Consider buying a juicer for your home so that you can make your own juices.
Blend fruit and veg into smoothies
You can also blend fruit and vegetables into delicious smoothies. Smoothies are typically healthier than fruit juice – when you create juice, you remove most of the fibre and some of the nutrients, while making a smoothie maintains all the nutrients and fibre. As with juice, it’s best to make your own smoothies rather than relying on store-bought pre-made smoothies (which can contain added sugar and other additives).
Try these easy salads
Everyone knows that salads are healthy. A big reason many of us don’t eat salads regularly is because they can be a hassle to prepare. Fortunately, there are some healthy and easy salad recipes out there – check out this post at damndelicious.net for inspiration.
Put vegetables into soup
Another tasty way to consume vegetables is to put them into a soup. This could be a chunky soup made up of chopped vegetables or a creamy soup made up of pureed vegetables. There is an endless list of soup options containing vegetables. A few popular options include pumpkin soup, tomato soup, asparagus soup, broccoli and stilton soup and borscht.
Dip carrots in hummus for a tasty snack
Craving a healthy savoury snack? Consider buying some carrot sticks (or chop up some carrots) and dip these into some hummus. It’s a bit like using corn chips or crisps, but with added nutrients and less calories.
Replace ice cream with frozen bananas
Fancy some ice cream in the evening, but want to watch your waistline? Frozen bananas could make a great tasty substitute. When frozen, banana takes on the consistency of ice cream. It’s a lot less calorific than eating ice cream, plus it’s packed with nutrients (freezing bananas does get rid of some of the nutrients, however many of the nutritional value remains).
Try vegan meat substitutes
Many of us eat a lot more meat than is necessary. Vegan meat substitutes are typically a lot healthier – while many of them have the protein and texture of meat, they’re not as fattening and are packed with vegetable-based nutrients. Lentils, chickpeas and jackfruit are some of the ingredients to look out for.
Try steaming, caramelizing and roasting veggies
The most basic way to cook vegetables is to boil them, however it’s also one of the worst ways to cook them. It removes a lot of the flavour and nutrients, resulting in fairly bland veggies. Steaming is the healthiest way to cook veggies – it helps them to retain most of their nutrients. Consider buying yourself a vegetable steamer if you don’t already have one. Caramelizing vegetables involves frying them on a low heat so that they cook in their own sugars. It’s not as healthy as steaming, but the vegetables will taste great and still retain a lot of nutrients. Roasting vegetables gets a bad rap – many people assume that it destroys all the nutrients. While some nutrients are lost while roasting, your veggies will still retain a lot of their nutrients, plus they’ll taste fantastic. All in all, don’t be afraid to roast vegetables to make dishes more exciting.