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.
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!
Soups help to remove the visual barrier of being faced with a big plate of vegetables that may deter some fussy eaters.
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.
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.
Use fruit in baking as a natural sweetener to replace the sugar. For example, certain recipes will work using apple or date puree instead.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!