Scientists at Imperial College, London now say that for maximum protection against disease and premature death, we need to eat 10 pieces of fruit and/or vegetables every day. That may seem like a feat to those who just do not find greens palatable. Here are 8 ways to help you get those veggies in.

1. Increase quantities

One simplest way is to increase your intake of vegetables by taking something you enjoy eating, and subtly spilling greens over it. Constantly evaluate your meals and think of how you could bring in the vegetables.

Try adding lots of colourful veggies like red cabbage, carrots, leeks, tomatoes and bell peppers into sandwiches or breakfast omelettes. Even when you are having pasta for lunch, consider throwing in some grated carrots and zucchini, and this works for soups and salads as well. For a refreshing break, instead of sodas or coffee, why not opt for green smoothies?

2. Celebrate with veggies

Why not create reasons for eating the veggies such as calling for a vegetable potluck party with a dazzling variety of vegetarian dishes and savoury desserts like vegetable tarts or even vegan ice cream. If everyone is eating it at a veggie parties, you will feel more motivated to go green.

To cook up more green recipes, have a veggie contest or highlight a vegetable every week. Get the family to shop for their favourite vegetables and pool creative ideas to celebrate new ways of preparing it.

3. Diversify your meals

Go for variety in your meals. Have more but smaller dishes and add delightful dashes of vegetables such as an Asian-inspired spread. Asians enjoy a variety of dishes and eating sometimes can become sampling sessions.

When you have a wide spread of dishes, you can afford small bites of veggies, and it won’t be so irksome to eat. For instance, you can have your succulent grilled chicken or sautéed beef paired up with a chunk of grilled onions, carrots or broccoli. Vary your meals and try new vegetables. Turn ordinary vegetables into satisfying sweet, salty, crunchy snacks like celery sticks. When vegetables are placed alongside your favourite meat dishes, they somehow appreciate in their value, and soon you will be taking in a good range.

4. Make pickles

Pickles come in handy when you need something sour and sweet between bites. For the Koreans, their meals are never complete without kimchi, the fermented cabbage with a distinctive pungent smell but numerous health benefits. It takes ten minutes to make your pickles and you get a bottle of ready-to-eat tasty vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, beets, cucumbers, peppers, turnips and more.

5. Decorate the veggies

Aesthetics help as most of the time we tend to feast with our eyes and that’s why a well captured food photo can make you hungry. Decorate your serving dishes with vegetable slices and add highlights like creative floral garnishes made from carrots, radishes and other vegetables. Dressing up your meals can make the greens look deceptively delightful to eat.

6. Slaw your leftovers

You can save your leftovers and freeze them to make a slaw. Add frozen vegetables to leftovers for a quick and healthy snack or lunch. Try shredding carrots, cabbage and other veggies into a slaw. Dress them in a little oil and salt, and use garlic, ginger, herbs or chilli to enhance the flavour.

7. Swap in something green

Try simple substitutes like a vegetable sandwich instead of your regular meat-based sandwich. Or you can make your own burrito by wrapping veggies up in a leaf and adding your favourite spices or sauce. You can even use a collard, lettuce or cabbage leaf as the wrap. If you love pizza, try to settle for a vegetarian pizza. Ask for extra veggies instead of cheese. Grill vegetable kebabs during barbecue parties. You may also mash cauliflower instead of potatoes and eat veggie noodles in place of chicken pasta.

For that occasional junk food treat, you may want to swap your French fries for carrot fries or kale chips. Use veggie dips as a healthier alternative.

8. Mask the vegetables

Sometimes it’s the mere sight of veggies that turns us off, so why not camouflage them such as adding beets or carrots into sponge cakes. You can also sneak vegetables into favourite meals. For example, hide spinach in beef burgers or add a vegetable assortment to spaghetti sauce, meatloaf or pizza. Just dice them small and they will be less visible. Make smoothies with yogurt and vegetables.

As long as your meals do not taste very “veggie” and you are enjoying them with your favourite meals, you are certainly getting healthier and greener. MIMS

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