6 clever ways to get more vegetables into your diet

Posted on February 5th, 2013

I’m a vegetable lover. We’re told to eat 5-7 serves of fruit and vegetables a day. I eat way more than this…but I choose to eat my quota in the form of vegetables in the main, with only a little fructose-full fruit. Which is something I had a rant about here. To be truthful, I feel best when I get a good six or so serves of veggies into my gullet most days. This can take some planning and some clever techniques…Shall I share?

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Kale pesto (top) and green eggs – scrambled eggs slurried with kale pesto (bottom). Both recipes are in my cookbook.

1. Vegetable smoothies.

1 large glass = 2-3 serves vegetables

I don’t make vegetables juice, I blend it whole, ergo a smoothie. Some of the Big Benefits of veggies are lost when you get rid of the fibre (as you do when you juice) and it can leave the resulting beverage too sugary (yep, veggies contain fructose too, but less than fruit). I toss lettuce, spinach, ginger (with the peel on), lemon (pips and pith included), turmeric, fennel (leaves and bulb) into a Vitamix (you do need a high-powered blender for this), with some ice and extra water or coconut water and blend until smooth. It’s a meal in a cup and you’re downing 2-3 serves of veggies in one tumbler. I’ll often have this for breakfast (along with some nuts or toast and nut butter or a boiled egg).

If you’re after some extra veggie smoothie recipes click here.

2. Eat veggies for breakfast.

1 cup = 1 serve vegetables

Either as a smoothie, or try my eggy muggin idea (from my I Quit Sugar Cookbook):

Eggy Muggin

  • 1⁄2 cup par-cooked’n’frozen veggies (broccoli or silverbeet works best) or 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • sprinkle of frozen peas
  • pinch cheese, grated (cheddar or Parmesan works) or a few cubes of feta
  • 1 egg

Place vegetables in a large coffee mug with a dash of water. Microwave on high for 30 seconds/a minute. Crack in an egg and add cheese. Stir loosely. Microwave again for another 30 seconds/a minute. Done.

3. Veggie fried rice…without the rice

1 plate = 2-3 serves vegetables

I like this Cauliflower Fried Rice from Megan at Detoxinista. Very clever idea!

4. What about my secret pumpkin puree?

1 extra dose = 1/2 serve vegetables

I puree up my root veggies and have them stocked in my freezer ready to add to, well, anything: soups, risottos, pasta, muffins, porridge. I store it in icecube trays and pop out a bunch as I need them, or in zip-lock bags. Pumpkin, sweet potato, swede, turnip, carrots all work well. Jerry Seinfeld’s wife is a big fan of doing this…and I’ve included a number of clever recipes that incorporate this trick in my cookbook, which you can get hold of here.

5. Mish-mash soups

1 bowl = 3 serves vegetables

If you’re keen to try a mish-mash soup, watch this video where I make my cheesy green mish-mash soup recipe.

YouTube Preview Image

6. Super green zucchini fettucine (double the veg!)

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Me. Demonstrating how to make zucchini fettuccine.

1 bowl with pesto = 2 serves vegetables

Grab a potato peeler and unfurl long fettuccine-like ribbons from your zucchini. Then top with pesto or bolognaise sauce or…

Got any tips you’d like to share? Things you do to get the greens into your family? Feel free to add below. 

 

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  • Ms Jane

    Perfect timing Ms Wilson! I’ve been eating a paleo diet for 2 years now but realized that my diet is too protein heavy so I’ve been blending veggies in the morning and I’m hooked! Who knew that coriander, kale, cucumber and lime were a perfect match!! I’ve lost a bit of weight and am feeling much better after only two weeks.

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    Hail To The Nihilist Reply:

    Glad you saw the light, Ms Jane. The paleo diet is too protein heavy but people choose to ignore that as they often find themselves in good shape.

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  • http://www.emmamcneil.co.uk Emma

    I really can’t afford a fancy blender right now. How good a blender do I need to be able to make veggie smoothies?

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    Sophie Reply:

    I recently bought a sunbeam blender for just under $200 and it blends up veggie smoothies, so it can do the job.

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    Emma Reply:

    Ooh! That’s hopeful! I couldn’t believe how much a Vitamix was.

    I’m going to try the egg in a mug thing too. We always have spinach knocking around in the fridge

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    Νicole Reply:

    I bought a Sunbeam (‘cafe series’ for $20 off Gumtree – second hand) a week ago. Does a good enough job for the green smoothies I make (spinach, kale, an apple, pear, banana, water, lemon juice and ginger). The guy I got it off says it blends ice, too. Super happy with my purchase!

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    Salbra Reply:

    Lovelies. I had a “normal” blender for a year or smoothies which I killed blending dates for a raw brownie; I bribed my family into getting me a kitchen aid liquidiser/blender. Vitamix isn’t in my budget at the moment – I am so very, very much in love with my liquidiser. Highly recommended. A big extra oomph than my run of the mill blender. X

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  • http://hailtothenihilist.wordpress.com Hail To The Nihilist

    My #1 Vegetable Tip: Throw handfuls of greens into everything.

    Spinach. Kale. Chard. Herbs–oregano, parsley, thyme, basil, sage. Grow your own preferably and add to everything. Spinach, for instance; it looks bulky to begin with but cooks down to nothing. Making a soup, stew, pasta sauce? Add two or three cups.

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    Hail To The Nihilist Reply:

    I might add; grated veg can be used in the same way. Why not grate in a zucchini, carrot or sweet potato?

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  • Erin

    Thanks Sarah! Love the Eggy Muggin idea – it’d be a great option for work lunches as well just taken to work in a jam jar with a lid!

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  • Canada

    Hi sarah, I’m interested in your thoughts on raw vegetable consumption and hypothyroidism? Thanks.

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    I avoid raw cruciferous veggies a little…but then I do eat a bit of kale in my smoothies. My stance – we can’t do everything right and benefits fo some things outweigh some of the drawbacks. Too many rules make us stressed…which is the BIGGEST issue for AI sufferers. I make decisions as I go along, based on what feels right.

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  • http://www.crashtestmummy.com.au Laney | Crash Test Mummy

    I really like your pumpkin puree idea. We have a massive vege garden on the family farm and it’s about to turn out a bumper crop of, well, everything!!!! We’ll be freezing a lot.

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  • http://www.livehealthysimply.com Jessica Nazarali

    I love Zucchini pasta, it was a good reminder for me to make it more often!

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    Stephanie Reply:

    Is the zucchini raw or cooked? Wasn’t sure.. thanks :)

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  • linda

    I eat paleo/primal but always make sure i incorporate heaps of veges into my diet and often add extra to recipes to make sure i am getting plenty of extra goodness in there (also saves on wasted veges as I am not sure what to do with some of them sometimes). I don’t want to spend heaps of extra money (I mean I saw yesterday a Vitamix costs almost $1000- eeeek) So what I do is chop up heaps of veges finely to help me more easily incorporate them into another recipe (eg a meatloaf, soup, casserole or stew). It’s been made a lot easier since I got a Tupperware turbo chef last year …. http://www.tupperware.com.au/wps/wcm/connect/AUS/website/productgallery/productcollections/prepessentials/turbo+chef (Just want to add I’m not a Tupperware lady so no vested interest in this – but I want to recommend something that has really worked well for me) Anyway I hope this helps somebody have more veges in their diet and also not waste food. all the best

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  • Verity

    This is actually really timely… I’ve just started trying out the IQS program and I am constantly starving… Despite the quantity of fat and protein I’m eating (I think I have PMT)… So I am not craving sugar per se just food in general and it’s hard to find things to eat when I’m minimizing fruit and grains! I might go and stock up on some pumpkin and things so I can make some smoothies…

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  • http://doiabelle.blogspot.com Amy

    Fantastic! Thank you for the tips Sarah, I love veggies but just seem to gravitate away from them for some reason. Probably due to preparation time. I need to embrace them much more frequently! That soup maker looks great, do they handle root veggies?

    Amy B

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  • grace b

    These are good tips for me to start using up the veggies in our crisper. Lacto-fermenting any extras really helps me as I can keep them for so long once they are good to go!

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  • Kelly

    Help Sarah!

    I started iqs in earnest last week. Felt great. Still having my morning coffees no issue going well for 6 days feeling good. Then today I fell off the no sugar wagon and had a dark chocolate bar (still had sugar!) and a soy chai (which tasted sweet so must’ve had loads of sugar in it even though I said no sugar!) and a packet of peri peri crisps as they were being handed out on the street and I’ve zero will power :) Anyway disappointed myself greatly after a week of doing iqs. Now this detention i feel awful. Nauseous, headaches, no energy just feel hungover. What’s going on??

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    Kelly Reply:

    I mean afternoon, not detention! Argh auto correct! (Although I deserve detention after breaking my iqs resolve in only 6 days!!)

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    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    The trick with chai is to ask for chai from a teabag. Most cafes make chai from a syrup, and it’s extremely sugary – like cordial! If you get the teabag, it has no sugar, and you can have it black or add milk. The cinnamon and gorgeous spices tastes just sweet enough, I think.

    Don’t beat yourself up. 95% good is pretty damn good, focus on that & not the 5% bad. Fall seven times and get up eight times, or however the proverb goes. x

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  • Emily

    When planning my meals, I always start with the veggies – what veggies do I have, what do I fancy, and then work on the protein and any other carbs from there!

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  • http://www.carlacoulson.com Carla Coulson

    Using up all the green veg in the fridge to start making the soup Sarah looks delicious, will try some of these other recipe ideas..thanks so much I love a good soup in winter so easy!
    Carla x

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  • http://www.rachphillips.com Rachael • rachphillips.com

    Soup and sauces are the perfect way to get more veggies in. I always add cauli to tomato based sauces, spinach to pasta sauces etc as it gives it that extra oomph as well as being super healthy!

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  • Kiriko

    I’ve been under the impression that microwaving your food is unhealthy because it changes the molecular structure– am I wrong?

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  • Casey O’brieb

    I have just brought your 8 week detox book and have not been able to
    Put it down, such an amazing and interesting book!!

    I love the idea of a vegetable smoothy! Such a great way to keep all the nutrients in the drink, and they taste so yummy!! I have been looking a getting a protein powder and was wondering if you use proteins powders in your smoothy’s and if so what one would you recommend that is not full of nasty sugars??!!

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  • Anne

    I purposely cook extra vegies & make a hash with the leftovers. I fry up some onion in butter add some shredded cabbage & mushrooms then add the leftover cooked vegies & usually end up with enough for another 2 meals. Then I either have some poached eggs or steak with my hash. There’s nothing nicer than hash & eggs. It is also very economical as instead of 1 meal I usually get around 3 meals for 2 people.

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  • Kath

    My absolute favourite breakfast at the moment is my oven roasted tomato soup with half an avocado with lemon juice, sea salt and pepper on the side. So filling and a delicious start to the day and 2 x serves of veggies . Yum!

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  • Natalya

    I’ve brainwashed (re-ecucated) myself re; vegetables.

    Filling, healthful, well being, oxygenated blood cells, sugar free, youthful skin, life affirming, weight loss- all of these things I now strongly associate with eating vegetables. Now it’s super easy to not reach for crap……..and get the veg in! Homemade simple dressing helps too- fabulous apple cider vinegar and olive oil, garlic, some mustard and salt- Voila!

    :)

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  • Andrea

    OK – call me superficial – what I REALLY want to know is what what is making your skin glow so incredibly in the pic of you making the zucchini fettucine (and just generally)? I know you’ve made the switch to non-toxic skincare and makeup. I am currently doing the same. Will you tell us what foundation you are wearing that has such a beautifully dewy finish?

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  • Sue Wilson

    Love your site can’t wait to read the newsletter.

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