Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Not just for kids

If there's one food group we all need more of it's vegetables. Low calorie, high in fibre and water and rich in anti-ageing, anti-cancer nutrients they're winners on all fronts.

Unfortunately they aren't everyone's favourite food, otherwise we'd all live to 100! So sometimes a little trickery is needed to make sure we or our loved ones eat enough of them.

There's a few tricks we can use on ourselves, and kiddies, to get somme extra veggies in:

- simple bribery, you can't have dessert til you've eaten two portions of veggies

- disguise, veggies can be easily added to stews, curries, chilli, pasta dishes. For the extremely veg averse you can blend them into sauces. I have a friend who's husband won't go near a vegetable so she has to cook and blend them beyond recognition. Jessica Seinfeld's books are a great source of vegetable hiding recipes.

- dress them up, us grown ups with our more sophisticated pallettes may need something more exciting than a side of boiled broccoli! Mixing veggies together and adding herbs and spices can turn them from a chore to a delight. For recipe inspiration Ottolenghi's latest book 'Jerusalem' is a fab place to start.

- sauce them up. Whilst I'm in favour of eating veggies plain, I appreciate with some people that's just not going to work. If adding some sauce or dressing is what it's going to take to get you to eat some veg then so be it. Most people will eat salad if it's nicely dressed, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper can also add a lot of life to steamed veg (add some lemon juice on top for steamed new potatoes), equally some sugar free soy sauce and a drizzle of sesame oil does wonders for stir fry veg. Ms haribo is the master of hiding veg in her fruit smoothies - add a handful of spinach or kale for some easy greens with a yummy fruit taste.

- if all else fails, add cheese! I've found that most people will eat vegetables if you add some cheese! Crumble in some feta to roasted peppers, or make a salad with spinach and goats cheese. I served up some stuffed courgettes last week topped with a little grated cheddar and there were clean plates all-round.

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