Fri | Dec 8, 2023

Delicious ways to add more vegetables to your diet

Published:Wednesday | May 3, 2023 | 12:09 AMKeisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer

Trying to eat more vegetables, but finding it difficult? Vegetables will add fibre, vitamins and minerals to your meals, and eating a healthy diet can help reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease by helping you to maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels as well as manage your weight which in turn can help to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

According to Dr Rivane Chybar Virgo, medical doctor and health and wellness coach, the secret is to try different recipes until you find what works for you. Many people, she said, struggle to eat the recommended daily serving of vegetables, but becoming creative and being open minded can help to meet these servings.

“Growing up as a child, how many times did you hear, ‘Please eat your vegetables’? As a child, vegetables were my least favourite part of the plate, despite hearing and knowing the health benefits of adding vegetables to my diet. I just could not bear the taste, and I know many persons also struggled with this,” Dr Chybar-Virgo said.

Including vegetables in your meals is extremely important. Veggies are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, which boost your health and help fight off disease. Additionally, they are beneficial for weight management due to their low-calorie content.

Health authorities around the world recommend that adults consume several servings of vegetables each day, but this can be difficult for some people. Some find it inconvenient to eat vegetables, while others are simply unsure how to prepare them in an appetising way.

Dr Chybar-Virgo recommends some unique ways you can incorporate vegetables into your eating plan, so that you never get tired of eating them. “You can sneak them into a shake or smoothie. I find that the taste just mysteriously disappears when you do this,” she said.

Eating soups, she said, are an excellent way to consume multiple servings of vegetables at once. You can make veggies the base by pureeing them and adding spices, furthermore, it is simple to cook veggies into broth, or cream-based soups.

“Adding even a small number of extra veggies, such as broccoli, to soups is a great way to increase your intake of fibre, vitamins, and minerals,” Dr Chybar-Virgo said.

Omelettes are also an easy and versatile way to add veggies to your meal plan. Plus, eggs add lots of good nutrients, too. Cook beaten eggs with a small amount of butter or oil in a pan, and then fold them around a filling that often includes cheese, meat, vegetables, or a combination of the three. Any type of veggie tastes great in omelettes and you can really add them for lots of nutrition. Spinach, onions, scallions, bok choy, mushrooms, bell peppers, and tomatoes are common additions.

Dr Chybar-Virgo also recommends adding fruits to your vegetables to add flavour. “For example, if you are having a salad, and it has a dull taste, then you can add a few slices of fruit to it. You will get that nice, sweet flavour and it is still refreshing. Do not put too much fruits into the vegetable salad though, as it will overpower it,” she said.

Vegetables can also be added to sandwiches. “Most sandwiches have small amounts of vegetables. You can improve on that sandwich by adding more vegetables to it. Not only does it have numerous benefits, but it also helps you to keep full longer and satisfied,” Dr Chybar-Virgo said.

There are so many ways to add vegetables to everyday food items. Some can sneak right into recipes without a lot of drama like spinach, and some add colour and flavour in ways you would never expect, like beets and sweet potatoes.

Adding to a dish is great, but sometimes veggies can become the star as your sandwich bun or rice. If you do not like a certain vegetable that you have only tried boiled, give roasting a try.

By making veggies a regular part of your eating habits, you will significantly increase your intake of fibre, nutrients, and antioxidants.