These ideas will help even the biggest meat eater happily include more vegetables, easily, every day. I am not vegan or vegetarian but there are many reasons why I try to include as many vegetables as I can in my diet. I was once a fussy eater, and there have been plenty of vegetables that I claimed to hate over the years. But now I have legitimate cravings for vegetables… seriously (obviously amongst the chocolate ones). Sometimes I don’t know who I am anymore…
The recommended amount of vegetables we should be eating keeps increasing and I think Michael Pollan’s famous quote: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” sums up what we should be eating better than most government guidelines. Well it’s certainly simpler, that’s for sure.
My reasons for including more vegetables in my diet are as follows:
1. Health, they are the best way to get a huge variety of vital nutrients into our bodies.
2. The environment, I don’t think that the way we consume meat currently is sustainable.
3. Boredom, vegetables change with the seasons thus I’m less likely to get sick of eating one thing!
How do I try to make this happen every week?
5 Simple Ideas:
1. Not just for dinner: Don’t leave vegetables until dinner to think about. Include them in as many meals and snacks as possible. Fritters are a great way to do this at breakfast and rainbow salad bowls are an awesome lunch solution. You could also try my breakfast salad for a big hit of vegetable goodness in the mornings!
4. Super snacks: a super smart way of upping your vegetable intake is to turn to them for a quick snack. This can be as simple as munching on carrot sticks or you could make any of the following: vegetable dips, cauliflower florets, pumpkin loaf, parsnip fries.
5. Make them the hero: Vegetables needn’t be the side dish at dinner, they can be the headlining act. A vegetarian mezze is a delicious way to feed a group of friends just by using a couple of amazing salads , roasted carrots with tahini dressing, some charred Brussels sprouts and either vegetarian meatballs or corn fritters. Or if it’s just one or two of you stuffed baked sweet potatoes are always delicious….
STUFFED BAKED SWEET POTATOES
1 medium sweet potato
1/2 avocado (1 cm dice)
2 Tbs greek yoghurt
1 Tbs feta
1/3 cup peas (briefly blanched)
2/3 cup kale or spinach
1/3 cup french lentils
2 tomatoes, chopped
2/3 cup chopped (1cm dice) mushrooms
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tbs tahini
Half a lemon
1 spring onion finely sliced
2 finely sliced radish
1/2 cup diced cucumber (1 cm dice)
1/3 cup coriander
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds mixed
Heat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Pierce baked potato with a sharp knife a few times, wrap in foil and bake for 40 minutes in the oven. Meanwhile, boil lentils in 1 cup water until soft (20 minutes). Add to a pan with a splash of olive oil, cumin, half the spring onion, the tomato and pinch of allspice. Cook slowly until the tomatoes have broken down and combined with lentils (15 minutes). Add tahini, stir and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and set aside.
Beat the yoghurt and feta together in a small bowl, until smooth. Season with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Once cooked remove the sweet potato from the oven and cut in half, score the cut side with a knife to break up slightly. Fill each half with avocado, kale, the lentil mix, peas, yoghurt sauce, radish, coriander, cucumber, spring onion and seeds.
I hope you find this inspiring/useful so you can start including at least one meat free day a week and stop seeing meat as the centre piece of every meal. Sometimes it can play a supporting role instead, get a bit of a rest, you know?