Vegetables are the cornerstone of a healthy eating pattern and heart-healthy diet. You simply cannot eat well without them.
Experts recommend getting in five serves a day, and hitting that daily intake is one of the best things you can do for your long-term health – and your heart.
Here are eight simple and practical ways to eat more vegetables.
1. Add them to breakfast
- Thinly slice sweet potato and cook in the toaster – top with eggs or ricotta cheese.
- Add sautéed baby spinach and mushrooms to eggs on toast.
- Add capsicum, shallots or pumpkin to an omelette.
2. Snack on them – raw vegetables are great to nibble on throughout the day
- Carrot sticks with hummus
- Celery sticks with peanut butter
- Snow peas, sugar snap peas and green beans
- Capsicum sticks with yoghurt-based dip
3. Roast them – also great to save as leftovers for the next day
- Roast sweet potato or pumpkin is fantastic on homemade pizzas or inside toasted sandwiches.
- Roast carrot and beetroot is delicious tossed through a salad with a sprinkling of pine nuts or feta cheese.
- Roasting broccoli and cauliflower with a mix of different spices is a great alternative to boiling/steaming.
4. Add a pre-cut bag of coleslaw or finely chopped salad vegetables to any meal
- Supermarkets have a large range of pre-chopped salads and coleslaws that are handy for time-poor evenings. There’s no reason you can’t add half a dinner plate of salad to any meal, from spaghetti bolognaise, pizza and takeaway to BBQs.
5. Top a pie with them
- Add mashed sweet potato, pumpkin or cauliflower to the tops of pies and bakes for a healthy crust.
6. Throw them on the BBQ
- Vegetable kebabs are delicious grilled on the BBQ: thread chunks of capsicum, zucchini, mushroom and eggplant onto skewers, chargrill then drizzle with lemon juice and fresh garlic.
- Corn cobs given a light spray of olive oil and sprinkle of smokey paprika are delicious chargrilled and served with chicken breast or steak.
- Vegetables like asparagus, broccolini, mushrooms, capsicum and zucchini are great to quickly grill on a hot BBQ plate and serve with your main meal.
7. Chuck them into a smoothie
- Baby spinach will make your smoothie green, but with other strong flavours (eg, banana, cinnamon, peppermint essence) will be almost completely undetectable to the taste.
- Cucumber, celery and carrot make great blends when combined with a serve of fruit like oranges, strawberries and watermelon.
8. Add them to curries and soups
- Zucchini, broccoli, snow peas, carrot and capsicum go great in curries. Adding extra vegetables will help the dish be more filling and go further.
- Soups, particularly in winter, are a great way to eat lots of vegetables. You can add anything from pumpkin to peas, mushrooms to broccoli. The more vegetables you add, the larger the serve you can enjoy!
About the author
Kate Freeman is HRI's resident nutritionist. She is a registered nutritionist from Canberra, Australia and the creator and managing director of the largest private nutrition practice in Canberra, The Healthy Eating Hub. Kate consults, writes, presents and mentors in the field of nutrition and has over 10 years of experience in the industry.