You may have read recently that CSIRO released a new report revealing that four in five Australians aren't getting enough fruits and veggies in their diet, after announcing many Aussies favour takeaways for convenience, rather than cooking at home. So, with more people struggling to get their daily dose of veggies, we thought you would benefit from some expert advice from Dr. Joanna McMillan around some easy hacks to get your veggie intake up, fast and easy.
1. Boost Your Breakfast
Breakie is the most important meal of the day, boosting performance and helping with weight maintenance. It's also the perfect time to add an extra serving of fruit or veggies to your meal. For instance, a fast and tasty option is to make a smoothie combining two serves of fruit such as blueberries and banana, and add one handful of baby spinach with ice, water, and low-fat Greek yogurt. For a nutritional boost to a hot breakfast, add veggies to your eggs, for instance in an omelette or just with toast.
2. Be a sneaky chef
Not everyone loves to eat veggies by themselves! A tip to overcome this is by sneaky vegetables into recipes, by grating, julienning, blending or pureeing them. This is perfect for quick and easy salads, pasta sauce and for soups as we head into the cooler weather. Another tip is to double the amount of veggies you're using, enhancing the flavour, nutritional value and your daily vegetable tally.
3. Meatless Mondays!
This initiative has gained popularity all over the world and is so simple - for one day a week forgo meat. It's a great way to increase your daily veggie and fruit intake. Try making an easy and delicious couscous or quinoa salad with a grain cooker, like the Philips Grain Master. Using an appliance like this makes it so much faster to whip up a meal during the week, it's simply a case of getting all your ingredients into the appliance, setting, forgetting and coming back for a delicious dinner.
4. Buy Veggies From The Nearest Farmer's Market
Visiting a farmer's markets is a great family day out and can get you excited for your weeks cooking! This outing not only inspires the family to cook and enjoy healthy meals together, but you'll also find great deals on fruit and vegetables. Also, it's great to support local farmers in your area.
5. No Need to Skip Dessert
Advice we've all been waiting to hear! A fruit-based dessert has the ability to offer a light, naturally-sweet end to a satisfying meal and adds an extra serving or two of fruit for the day! Create 'Nicecream" by blending frozen bananas, ice, low fat Greek yogurt and honey. Or dip frozen strawberries in a small amount of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate! These sweet treats are fast, easy and will be loved by friends and family.
Philips Kitchen Appliance Ambassador and Nutritionist Dr. Joanna McMillan's Quinoa and Chickpea Veggie Pilaf
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1 red capsicum, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 baby eggplant, diced
1 ear of corn, kernels cut off with a small sharp knife
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken stock (or use vegetable stock for vegetarian dish)
Handful fresh flat leaf parsley, coarse stalks removed & leaves roughly chopped
Handful of fresh mint, leaves picked
Select the Quick Cook Function on the Philips Grainmaster and with the lid open heat the oil in the pan. Once hot add the onion and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the other veggies and continue to sauté for 5-6 minutes until softened.
Wash the quinoa well in a sieve under the running cold water tap. Add to the pan along with the stock. Close the lid and select the Quinoa program from the menu.
When there is 5 minutes left on the timer open the lid, add the chickpeas, stir to combine and close the lid to finish cooking.
Once cooked stir through the fresh herbs and a good grind of fresh black pepper. Serve as a vegetarian main dish or as an accompaniment to grilled meat or fish.