Trying to fit all of your daily vegetable serves into one meal, such as dinner, is difficult. However, if you can manage a couple of serves at lunch, you’re well ahead. Back that up with two cups of vegies at dinner and you’re heading towards six serves. Even better is trying to get a vegetable serving in at breakfast. It will help fill you up and makes the rest of the day’s vegetable intake a breeze.
How to get them into your day
There are a lot of clever ways you can include more vegetables in your day:
Breakfast (1 serve)
Try grating half a carrot into your muesli. This might sound odd, but the carrot’s slight sweetness and crunch works really well.
Ditch the boring butter and Vegemite; spread ricotta on your toast and top with sliced tomato or a handful of rocket leaves.
Lunch (2+ serves)
If you’re buying a sandwich, don’t just order ham, cheese and tomato. Instead, ask for “all the salads”. The sandwich will fill you up, you’ll be getting at least five different kinds of vegetables, and probably three serves towards your daily total.
If you take a packet of mixed leaves, a punnet of cherry tomatoes, a small cucumber, an avocado and two small tins of salmon to work, you’ve got the makings of two healthy lunchtime salads. Or add a packet of healthy wholegrain flatbread and you could make wraps instead.
Most takeaway lunches are light on vegies, so make it a habit to order extra. Whether it’s noodles, pasta or a burger, there’s no reason why you can’t ask for more vegies.
Afternoon (1+ serve)
Snack on half a punnet of cherry tomatoes and you’ve had two servings of vegetables without even leaving your desk.
Take a couple of small cucumbers to work, then top some grainy crackers with a spread of hummus and half a cucumber, sliced.
Avoid the afternoon chocolate craving by sipping on a cup of vegetable soup.
Dinner (2+ serves)
Make sure at least half your plate is covered with vegetables. It may look like a lot of food, but it will also fill you up and ensure you’re getting at least two servings.
Try to have smaller portions of carbohydrate-rich foods such as pasta and rice to make space for the extra vegetables.
If you can’t work vegetables into your main meal, serve a large salad on the side. Aim for at least two cups per person.
If you think getting vegetables ready to eat takes too long, choose ones that require minimal or zero preparation. Think baby spinach, rocket or salad leaves, whole baby carrots, broccolini, bok choy, asparagus, snow peas and green beans. All of these just need a little wash and they’re ready to be cooked in a steamer or stir-fried – quick and easy.