Video: How to eat more veg without even noticing
Trying to eat more vegetables, but finding it tricky? Watch our video for some quick and easy ways to up your fruit and vegetable intake, without making drastic changes to your diet. Or read our 9 top tricks below.
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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.
These tips will help towards your five a day, but if you want to provide a whole extra portion of vegetables you will need to add 80g per serving.
1. Sneaky mashed potato
Potatoes don’t count towards your 5-a-day – so try adding some other vegetables to get a wider range of nutrients.
Cook chopped swede, parsnip or celeriac in the same pot as your potatoes, and mash them both together with a little skimmed or semi-skimmed milk. Add chopped fresh herbs if you like – parsley, thyme or rosemary would be good choices. The extra vegetables that you’ve added are such subtle flavours that they shouldn’t be very noticeable. You can always add a little wholegrain mustard or other flavourings (freshly grated nutmeg works well) if you’d like to disguise it a bit more. Just don’t undo your good work by adding butter! You could try this mash in place of normal mash potatoes on top of shepherd’s pie, cottage pie or fish pie.
2. Pasta sauce
Give your Bolognese a boost with some vegetables in disguise. Try cooking some finely chopped carrot, courgette, red pepper, and sweetcorn. Then blend them up with tinned tomatoes and some fresh basil, for a delicious twist on the standard sauce.
3. Curry sauce
The trick with disguising vegetables in curry sauces is to think about the colour that they would be anyway. Korma is yellow and sweet, so try blending some tinned sweetcorn into the sauce. Blend some cooked broccoli or raw spinach into the sauce for your Thai green curry.
4. Homemade burgers
Try adding veg to homemade burgers. For example chicken burgers could have leek, onion and grated courgettes added to the meat mixture. Add a good layer of sliced tomato and lettuce when you serve (and hold the mayo).
5. Cauliflower rice
Pulse the main part of a raw cauliflower (excluding the hard core and stalks) to make small grains, cover with (pierced) cling film then microwave for around five minutes, or five to eight minutes on the hob. Try adding fresh coriander, parsley or cumin seeds for flavour.
6. Carrot cake
Ok, so we’re not suggesting you rely on desserts to give you your 5-a-day, but every little helps. Courgettes, beetroot and carrots can all work well in baking adding moisture as well as nutrients. Perfect for a healthier treat, served with a cup of tea.
7. Vegetable hummus
Hummus is a great snack, especially with vegetable crudités. But to get even more veg, try blending cooked vegetables inside the dip. The garlic is a great way to mask the flavour of veg, and there’s lots of variations to try. Carrot and cumin, pea and mint, or roasted red pepper and basil are some of our favourite combinations.
8. Chips with a twist
Cut root vegetables like carrots, parsnips or sweet potatoes into sticks. Toss in a little olive oil and then bake. Serve as an alternative to potato chips.
9. Hidden veg smoothies
Add greens like kale or spinach into a strong-flavoured smoothie (e.g banana or raspberry). Or you could combine beetroot or carrot juice with blended or juiced fruits – like apples, bananas and berries. Remember that 150ml of juices and smoothies will only count as one of your five-a-day though, however much you drink.