VEGGIE up your life!

“Enjoy a variety of nutritious foods every day including: plenty of vegetables and fruit”

 

The Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults (Ministry of Health 2015)

Vegetables are great sources of vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytonutrients. Eating vegetables can prevent the pounds latching on and keep your body healthy.

How can you veggie up your life?

It’s as simple as grating a carrot into your Bolognese mixture! Instead of crackers and cheese, choose carrot and celery sticks with a healthy hummus choice. Slice eggplant thinly as a pasta sheet replacement for the classic lasagne dish.

Experiment using veggies for rice and pasta replacements by using finely chopped cauliflower, spiraled zucchini or carrot that has been plunged into boiling water for a short time.

Just like you grew up speaking the language of your household, people adapt to their food environment. You can at any moment reconfigure your food environment! Buy more veggies, less potato chips, more fruit, and less chocolate and lollies. It’s amazing what you won’t eat if you don’t have it in the cupboard!

Fresh seasonal vegetables are a top pick for your trolley and can be complemented with frozen and canned vegetables. How about taking advantage of fresh seasonal vegetables and preserve your own in your freezer for the time of the year when they are not in season and more expensive? When choosing canned vegetables, watch out for sodium and sugar contents. Make it a goal to include enough of a veggie content in your meals to pack a real punch!

Veggie up your life with mostly the non-starchy vegetables! Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, kumara, and taro are filling but contribute more calories. Pack your meals with broccoli and its non-starchy mates and use starchy vegetables as a top up, and not the main event.  Make your plate colourful by choosing a mixture of different coloured vegetables to supply a variety of nutrients.

Make sure you get the goodies in the skins of fruit and vegetables! Peeling fruit and vegetables removes the skin where a lot of fibre and nutrients are concentrated. Of course, if the skin is the reason you steer clear of zucchini, then eating it peeled is going to be more nutritionally beneficial than not eating it at all, and instead reaching for a packet of corn chips. It’s all about balance and making the best choice for you.

 

Sarah-Jane Stringer