Updated: Jan 13
Increasing your intake of vegetables and fruit are one of the most important dietary changes you can make. Filling at least ½ your plate with veggies and fruit into your meals and snacks can help decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke, along with other chronic health conditions. They are power houses of nutrition, loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and packed full of fibre; along with most naturally being low in fat and calories. Armed with some new ideas they can be easily prepared in a variety of ways, and taste good raw or cooked. Shop at your local produce market for the freshest and best prices.
Ideas for increasing your vegetable & fruit consumption:
Choose a vegetable or fruit you haven’t tried before and find a simple tasty way to prepare it. Check out “Oldways, 12 Great Ways … Collection” to use popular mediterranean vegetables. Google is your “friend” for using specific ingredients. Example Google search - “simple healthy recipes eggplant” to see what you find.
Substitute carbohydrate rich foods - Rice and pasta can be switched out for vegetable alternatives like cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash. Other tasty ways to Replace Carb Heavy Foods, Get Creative with Cauliflower, Versatile Zucchini. A veggie spiralizer is useful.
Ready to go vegetables - purchase package fresh, pre-cut/ trimmed veggies and fruit that require little to no preparation time such as grape tomatoes, snap peas/snow peas, sweet baby carrots, broccoli and cauliflower florets, asparagus, green beans, mini cucumbers, radishes, grapes, easy peel oranges, berries, pears, apples, pre-washed greens such as baby spinach, kale, cabbage, mixed greens. Don’t forget the store bought veggie and fruit trays. Keep a stock of frozen veggies in your freezer.
Eat them raw - Make sure to wash, peel, chop and store vegetables and fruits ahead of time. Store in clear containers or Ziploc bags for quick snacks and to pull together quick meals. Carrots and celery are great standbys but why not mix it up by cutting up some jicama, squeezing a little lime or lemon juice and sprinkle with cayenne or paprika, or use other ready to go ones above. As well, salad options are endless (fruit is a nice addition), include in a wrap or stacking them on sandwiches are other great ways to use veggies.
Kick up veggie flavour - sautee them with a little garlic, sprinkle with a little parmesan, season with your favorite herb, spice or blend (try David’s Condiments), mix with a little pesto, your favorite vinaigrette, add a dollop of hummus, a splash of teriyaki sauce or hot sauce, drizzle with an infused olive oil or peanut oil, use some balsamic vinegar, top with a little crunch - toasted or spiced nuts, seeds, roasted chickpeas.
Prepare them in simple ways:
Make a quick stir-fry. Seven easy stir fry sauce recipes you can make ahead and freeze. Make sure to use the sodium reduced soy sauce.
Prepare a big batch of roasted vegetables. Here is a link on How to Roast any Veggie. Roasting veggies is a great way to clean out your fridge at the end of the week and use leftover vegetables, 10 delicious uses of roasted vegetables. Use parchment paper on your baking sheet for easy clean-up and to prevent burning.
A few more recipes I like:
For more simple recipes that include fruits and vegetables check out the Dietitian’s website.