I often go on about the fact that we ought to eat AT LEAST 500 g vegetables a day (fruit is a bonus). Most of these 500 g should be vegetables and not fruit. It has turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be for many women to get to that amount. To get up to 500 g, I recommend that you add vegetables to every other meal, including breakfast and snacks.

There are plenty of reasons for eating that quantity of vegetables: vegetables contain fibre, which makes you feel full; they provide vitamins and antioxidants; and they are low in calories, which means that you can eat a substantial volume of vegetables.

But there are some of you who just don’t like vegetables. What do you do then? Well, you sneak vegetables into your diet anyway!

Here are some clever tricks!

Make banana pancakes with mashed beans and serve them with berries.

✅ Make wraps out of lettuce leaves instead of flatbread/tortillas. But if you do make a wrap out of a tortilla, heap on the salad or spinach.

✅ When you make an omelette – garnish it with spinach, tomatoes and sweet peppers.

✅ Do you eat sandwiches? Try hummus or tapenade instead of butter and add avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, salad leaves and sweet pepper rings. Not exactly wild and crazy, but it works.

✅ Do you like pizza? Make the base with cauliflower or broccoli.

✅ Try replacing ordinary lasagne with moussaka (a Greek variant made with potatoes and aubergines).

✅ Grate carrots and courgettes into your meat sauce.

✅ Make stews. The base ingredients are meat, potatoes and vegetables.

✅ Replace your normal pasta with lentil pasta.

✅ Do you make mashed potato? Mix in boiled cauliflower or boiled parsnips.

✅ Focus on salads! My own base is always spinach, and then I add what I want. That might be blue cheese, walnuts and apple chunks, or tomatoes, basil and feta cheese or edamame beans, etc.

✅ Make vegetable spreads, dressings and sauces. Guacamole, tapenade, hummus, tzatziki.

✅ Focus on smoothies! You can make plenty with different berries, fruits and vegetables, but make sure that you have a base that is rich in protein, such as quark or protein powder. Youngsters often like smoothies.

✅ Craving crisps? Make your own crisps out of sweet potatoes, apples, beetroot or kale. Dry them in the oven – don’t fry them!

✅ Try out a new vegetable every week. Focus on kohlrabi if you’ve eaten a lot of cabbage, for example. Replace kale with Tuscan black cabbage, cauliflower with broccoli, etc.

✅ Try oven-roasted peppers! The flavour is much more delicate. And are you after a delicious sauce to go with fish? Blitz a sweet pepper in the mixer – just remember to add salt.

✅ Soups: spinach soup, potato soup, broccoli soup, pumpkin soup, beetroot soup, onion soup – you-name-it soup.

✅ Ice cream made with frozen mango chunks: Blend 125 g frozen mango cubes in a food processor with 50 ml coconut milk. Eat and enjoy.

✅ Ice cream made with frozen bananas: Blend 2 bananas in a food processor (thaw them slightly in the microwave first) with 1 tbsp peanut butter. Eat and enjoy.

✅ Try freezing grapes – amazing! Perfect as snacks after an exercise session or on a summer evening. Or on an ordinary grey day in February. 

It CAN’T be any easier than that. Anything else is just an excuse!

Photo iStockphoto