Include these simple tips in your routine to easily get your 5+ a day!
1. Make a salsa with fresh or canned tomatoes and onion, garlic and herbs and serve with vegetable sticks or wholegrain pita bites.
2. Stuff a capsicum with brown rice and mince or beans as a light tasty meal.
3. When making mashed potatoes boil some cauliflower, parsnip or Brussels sprouts with your potatoes and mash together for a tasty change.
4. Don’t forget frozen veges – they can be an easy vege boost for any meal.
5. Stuff a baked potato or kumara with baked beans or creamed corn for a hearty lunch.
6. Purée cooked frozen peas, add a pinch of salt and pepper, for a vibrant tasty dip.
7. A bowl of hot edamame beans in their pods make a great pre-dinner snack.
8. Add canned whole kernel corn or fresh corn to rice, pasta, bean or green salads.
9. Get veges into your sandwich. Try grated carrot, sliced capsicum, sliced mushrooms and shredded lettuce.
10. Use fresh or frozen avocado as a spread instead of butter or spread.
11. Cooked minted frozen peas mashed and mixed with a little goats’ cheese, chopped fresh mint and salt and pepper go with lamb chops.
12. Make oven-baked chips of sliced potatoes, carrot, kumara, parsnips, beetroot. Vege chips dipped in your favourite tomato chutney make a great TV snack.
13. Get mashing! Try potato, kumara, pumpkin, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, yams, peas, swede, turnip and Brussels sprouts.
14. Get creative with vegetable mash. It can be a tasty baby food, a side dish with dinner, a dip with pita breads, added to soups, made into hash cakes.
15. Add a layer of spinach or silver beet to a lasagne.
16. Add a cup of frozen vegetables when making a meat loaf.
17. Not only carrots go well in cakes and muffins, try courgettes and pumpkin.
18. Cooked chickpeas blended with kumara make a yummy dip for crackers.
19. Use raw vegetables as a base for hors d’oeuvres (in place of bread or crackers). Try salmon on cucumber slices or ricotta and herbs in button mushrooms.
20. Grate pumpkin into beef or lamb casseroles, it thickens the gravy as well as adds a touch of sweetness.
21. Make vege burgers using a large portobello mushroom in place of a meat pattie.
22. Try adding homemade or canned vegetable soups to muffin and scone recipes (in place of milk) – to add colour and flavour as well as veges!
And if you want to try a 100% vegetarian dish, here are some of our favourites. Enjoy.
23. Drink a small glass of juice with dinner (the vitamin C will help iron absorption).
24. Add some fruit – try strawberries or oranges to your green salad for a refreshing change.
25. When baking cakes or muffins swap some oil in the recipe for fruit purée such as apple purée.
26. Make Bircher muesli: mix rolled oats and milk or yoghurt with dried fruit, berries and grated apple. Leave overnight in the fridge then enjoy.
27. Add peaches, apples, berries or bananas to your pancake or pikelet batter.
28. Make your drink count: swap a can of soft drink for 250ml juice.
29. Make a winter fruit pudding with canned peaches or frozen berries topped with meringue or sponge.
30. Get fruit into your sandwich: canned pineapple, sliced tomatoes, avocado, mashed banana – or try sultanas with honey!
31. Place a slice of cheese on a piece of apple or banana and place under the grill to make great ‘toasties’.
32. For a real treat, cut up chunks of different fresh fruits and enjoy a chocolate fondue.
33. Mix a mashed banana, or other fruit purée, through cooked porridge.
34. Add a handful of raisins before cooking porridge (allow a little extra liquid).
35. Toss a handful of dried fruit (eg. chopped apricot, craisins) or chopped fresh apple through a coleslaw (homemade or bought).
36. Add freshly-squeezed orange juice to pumpkin or kumara mash.
37. Blend honeydew melon, mint and ice for a summer sensation!
38. Mix berries with orange juice in a blender for a tasty drink.
39. Frozen seedless grapes are a cool snack. For small children cut in half first as whole grapes could be a choking hazard.
40. Quarter then roast pears, toss through lettuce leaves and top with roasted sliced almonds.
Especially for kids
41. Freeze bite-sized pieces of different fruits in water in ice cubes and eat from small cups: fun to suck on or crunch straight from the cup, or add to drinks.
42. Get babies used to the taste of fruit with fruit pieces wrapped in muslin (which they can suck and chew): pear, kiwifruit, apple, peach.
43. Make a boat out of a melon wedge and put strawberry ‘people’ in it.
44. Freeze juice in different- shaped moulds for a fun, healthy ice-block to enjoy on a hot summer’s day.
45. Get kids to pod fresh peas for dinner (they will end up snacking on them as they work so have plenty!)
46. Little bite-sized portions of cooked vegetables like potatoes, kumara, yams and pumpkin make an excellent snack for kids.
47. Reinvent the monkey roll: roll a banana in a slice of bread.
48. A small container of frozen peas or grated carrot makes a great snack to entertain young kids while you are cooking dinner.
49. Make vege faces with slices of olives for eyes; cauliflower, tomato or mushroom noses; pepper moustaches; and any other features you can think of.
50. Make fruit faces: for example, a banana strip for a smile, some kiwifruit slices for eyes, a strawberry nose…
Here’s some fantastic recipes for kids to try.
The New Zealand Fruit and Vegetable Alliance (NZFAVA) is a group of representatives from Plant & Food Research, food and horticulture industries, non-profit organisations and the Ministry of Health to promote increasing daily fruit and vegetable consumption.