How many serves of vegetables do you eat in a day?
For most Australians, the answer is ‘not enough’. According to the National Health and Medical Research Council, the majority of Australians only eat about half the recommended quantity of vegetables per day. They also found strong evidence that for each serve of vegetables you eat per day, the risk of coronary heart disease is reduced. Not only can eating plenty of vegetables reduce your risk of disease, but it can also help you to maintain healthy body weight and get plenty of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function properly.
If you’re someone who struggles to get enough vegies with their main meals, adding some healthy side dishes is an excellent way to boost your number of serves per day. Here are three recipes that are quick, easy and packed with nutrients:
Green beans with slivered almonds and citrus dressing
When asked why they don’t like vegetables, many people are quick to reply that they are put off by the taste and texture. This recipe has plenty of flavour thanks to its zesty dressing, plus lots of crunchy texture.
400 grams of green beans, trimmed
¼ cup of slivered almonds
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Using a fry pan over medium-high heat, gently toast your slivered almonds, watching carefully to check that they don’t burn. Once golden, remove from the pan and put aside.
Using a microwave-safe container, microwave your green beans for 90 seconds. Drizzle a little olive oil into the same pan and allow to heat before adding the beans and stirring. Cook for five minutes and remove from pan.
To make the dressing, zest the lemon before cutting in half and squeezing one half of the juice into a small bowl. Add the lemon zest, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the dressing over the green beans and top with the toasted almonds.
Rainbow Vegetable Slaw
Coleslaw is a family favourite, yet more often than not you’ll find it’s drenched in a rich, calorie-dense mayonnaise. This version replaces the traditional dressing with one using greek yoghurt, for a dish that’s light but still full of flavour.
½ a purple cabbage
½ a green cabbage
1 red capsicum
2 spring onions
½ cup greek yoghurt
1 tsp dijon mayonnaise
Juice of ½ a lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Finely chop your vegetables into strips using a food processor, mandolin, box grater or carefully with a knife. Combine into a large bowl.
Mix the yoghurt, dijon, lemon juice and salt and pepper into a small bowl before adding to the slaw and tossing to coat. If you’re preparing this dish in advance, store the dressing separately and add it right before you’re ready to eat.
Baked zucchini fries
Zucchini is a vegetable that’s as healthy as it is versatile. You’ll find many healthy recipe books use “zoodles” to replace traditional pasta in dishes like spaghetti bolognese or lasagne. Here, zucchini takes the place of potato, making a tasty side dish that’s lower in carbs.
3 large zucchinis, chopped into wedges
¼ cup of finely grated parmesan cheese
1 cup of breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a baking dish with non-stick baking paper.
Whisk your eggs and pour into a small, flat dish that’s big enough to dip the zucchini wedges. In a separate bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and parmesan.
Dip each zucchini wedge in the egg mixture before placing it in the breadcrumb mixture. Once coated, put it onto the baking tray. Once you’ve done this with all of the zucchini, bake the wedges in the oven for 40 minutes or until golden.