HOW TO ADD MORE PLANTS INTO YOUR DIET
Written by Jenny Rose Edwards
We all know that fruit and vegetables are an essential part of a varied and healthy diet. To be specific, 10 portions a day is supposed to be the sweet spot.
The reality is, not everybody loves the taste of fruit and vegetables, or has the time and money to buy or prepare them, and that’s okay. If that’s the case for you, it’s still possible to get your daily dose of plants - you just need to get a bit more creative!
You can use tasty pickled vegetables, spring onions, watercress, radish, anything really! Garnishing with vegetables adds to the texture of your dish, and also gives it a pop of freshness and flavour. You can add garnishes to spicy noodles, stews, mashes potato, or whatever you feel could use some added crunch.
SNEAK THEM IN
Did you know that you can use avocado to make chocolate cake? Or avocado and spinach to make a creamy pasta sauce? Do some research into recipes that sneak plants into the ingredients. You can create so many tasty and amazing things with fruit and vegetables, and you won’t even taste them in the end result!
There are endless juice and smoothie recipes online; you are bound to find at least a couple that you love. Why not even make your own ginger or turmeric shots? They’re both great antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory effects too, not to mention that they only take you a couple of seconds to drink!
Everybody enjoys snacking, so why not use this opportunity as an excuse to snack all day long? Make sure to keep some chopped vegetables (with dipping sauce, if you prefer that) and fruit with you at all times, so you always have something to eat when you’re peckish.
FROZEN FRUIT & VEG
If you’re on a budget, or short on time, you can buy frozen fruit and vegetables instead of fresh. The vitamins are locked in during the freezing process, so you don’t have to worry about them not being as nourishing as the fresh versions. Frozen fruit is perfect for adding into your morning porridge, and letting them defrost in the saucepan. Frozen vegetables are ideal for one-pot dishes, like stews and chilli, as you can just pour them in the pot without defrosting first!
CONDIMENTS & SEASONING
There is not much food (perhaps apart from fruit) that tastes mind-blowing without a bit of seasoning or condiments, so don’t be afraid to use them when preparing your fruit and vegetables. If you are having salad, remember to add salt, pepper, and a little bit of olive oil just to liven it up! Another tip is to season kale, and massage it with lemon juice to make it easier to digest and less bitter. There is so much you can add to plain vegetables to make them more exciting, all it takes is a little research and experimentation.
If you don’t like fresh fruits, then try them dried! Dried fruit is loaded with micronutrients, fiber and antioxidants, but what tends to put people off is the high sugar content (but that’s also why they taste so good). If you are deciding between eating no fruit at all, or eating dried fruit, definitely go with the second option!
Experimentation is always necessary when you’re making an effort to improve your diet. There are SO many edible plants out there, and so many ways to prepare them - you just need to find which ones you like, and how you like them prepped. Cauliflower wings are the ultimate way to disguise a bland cauliflower, and you can either deep fry them or bake them for a slightly healthier option.
SPIRALIZE & SHRED
Do you remember when spiralizing was a huge trend? Well it absolutely deserved to be! Using courgette as a substitute for pasta is so simple and quick, and you can hardly taste the difference once it’s covered in sauce. You can also shred vegetables, like carrots, in your sandwiches to give them a whole new texture, and make them less noticeable too.
Set yourself a goal to always have a plant-based side dish with your meals, whether that be a salad, fruit salad, carrot sticks, or roasted vegetables! Having a varied dinner is always more exciting, and you will get used to incorporating plants into your everyday meals in no time.