Top tips to increase fruit & veg intake
10 top tips to get "10 a day" fruit and vegetable portions into even the fussiest of fussy eaters!
As a national we struggle to reach our ‘5 a day’ target, with the estimated average daily portions consumed being around 2.6. This is made even more difficult when trying to feed fussy eaters or children.
It has been acknowledged that whilst ‘10 a day’ may be optimal for health, it may not be practical for everyone. However, any additional portions we can consume above our ‘5 a day’ will increase fibre intake, as well as vitamins and minerals and phytonutrients, the beneficial plant chemicals that may help to protect us against heart disease, cancer and potentially lengthen life span.
Tips to get fruits and vegetables into the diets of even fussy eaters
1. Fruit and vegetable Smoothies
Smoothies packed with fruits and veggies are a great way of incorporating many portions into one drink and the fruit helps disguise the taste of the vegetables!
2. Soups loaded with vegetables (and fruit if you dare!)
Soups help to remove the visual barrier of being faced with a big plate of vegetables that may deter some fussy eaters.
3. Why carb when you can veg?
Courgette spaghetti, butternut squash noodles, broccoli couscous... the options are endless! Replacing your carb-packed pastas with fruit and vegetable alternatives is great because the usual sauce you would use with the pasta will disguise the vegetable taste. It’s also a great way to reduce the calorie content of a meal.
4. Make it saucy - vegetable sauces, that is!
Blend extra vegetables such as peppers, mushrooms and courgettes into a tomato based sauce and many fussy eaters won’t even know! As long as you retain the whole vegetable, it still counts towards your daily intake.
5. Life is sweet (and so are fruits)
Use fruit in baking as a natural sweetener to replace the sugar. For example, certain recipes will work using apple or date puree instead.
6. Spice it up
Combine less favoured foods with strong flavours to cover up the taste. For example, mixing broccoli with coconut oil, chilli, garlic and lemon adds extra dimensions of flavour and increases the appeal.
7. Bitter vegetables are not always better
Baby versions or less bitter versions of vegetables often contain less of the flavour compounds people are adverse to. Baby cauliflower & tenderstem broccoli are good examples of delicous and nutritious vegetables.
8. Stock up on the go
Dried fruit is a great portable snack that doesn’t need refrigerating and counts towards your daily portions. Try dried figs with walnuts and pumpkin seeds for a really nutritious, balanced snack.
9. Look at how you cook
Some of us have horrible childhood memories of over boiled and soft veg. Quicker cooking methods, such as steaming or stir frying, help retain texture and nutrients AND increase appeal to our eyes and taste buds!
10. Keep your fingers on the pulse
Did you know both beans and lentils can contribute to your daily portions? If you’re unsure about these foods in their natural state make them into a delicious healthy dip like beetroot and horseradish houmous. Serve it with veggie sticks for extra points!
If you want to learn more about childhood nutrition strategies and feeding fussy eaters, our Childhood Nutrition & Obesity Prevention course may be perfect for you, simply follow the link to explore the course and try a free demo.
You can find some healthy recipes packed with delicious veggies and juicy fruits on our healthy recipes page!