Sunday, September 7, 2008

7 Ways to Have Fun With Your Veggies!


We all know how important it is to get more fruits and vegetables into our diets. I believe that it is also important to eat more RAW vegetables, so I thought I would give you a few ideas on how you can have some fun them!

1) DIP – I love dipping raw veggies into hummus, guacamole, or a yummy raw rutabaga dip I adapted from one of Frederic Patenaude’s recipes: http://tinyurl.com/2edp2e

2) BLEND – ah yes, I am sure you know I am a smoothie lover. How awesome is it to be able to have an entire spinach salad blended with some fruit first thing in the morning! You have just had more greens than most people get in their entire day, before even heading off to work! Try blending two fresh mangoes, some strawberries and a few romaine leaves together with a little water. Yum! You can find more recipes like this one here: http://tinyurl.com/22go96

3) TOSS – make one of your daily meals a big salad. Be creative! I add nuts and seeds, sprouts, cherry tomatoes, peppers, chopped raw asparagus, beans, grated beet, avocado, radicchio, and arugula to salads. You can also add salmon, chicken, boiled egg, or cheese if you like (feta is great), or just keep it green! Beware of fattening dressings, however. I quite like a squirt of lemon or mango juice, or will often top my salad with salsa or a touch of hemp oil and balsamic vinegar. Mix some up in a spray bottle (translucent glass bottle is best), and just give a spray or two.

4) SHRED – grate or shred veggies in a food processor or grater, and sprinkle on top of soup, chili, or pasta. Shredded carrot, cabbage, spinach, basil, beet, turnip are just a few examples. They not only add nutrition and texture, but also make your meal pretty!

5) SLICE – I love making veggie sandwiches. Take two pieces of your favorite bread, (or lettuce or kale leaves to keep it raw), spread ripe avocado on them (that’s right, no butter or mayo!). Then layer with thinly sliced tomato, orange and yellow pepper, cucumber, lettuce, sprouts, and even shredded carrot. Oh my goodness, I am drooling just typing this.

6) CHOP – homemade salsa is the best thing on the planet. You can put it on fish, chicken, salad, or even eat it with a fork! Although a food processor is the quick and easy way to make it, I love the taste and texture of hand chopped salsa. If you don’t have time to make it then try to find some fresh made at a deli (Delicado’s in Nanaimo makes great salsa!)

7) ROLL – think a sushi lunch is healthy? If you go for things like California rolls, then you are eating way too much white rice, fake crab, and often gobs of fattening mayonnaise! Then it gets dipped into high sodium soy sauce. And don’t even get me started on Tempura! So how can you enjoy sushi without the hidden calories? Shred some cabbage and carrot, and place a bit of each on a nori sheet. Then add a chunk of avocado, a few sunflower sprouts, and just a touch of curry powder. Roll it up, wet the edge of the nori sheet to secure it, cut it into bite sized pieces and voila! Your very own veggie sushi! You can find recipes like this one at http://tinyurl.com/2edp2e

And there you have it! So the next time you are staring into your crisper with bewildered boredom, just think of one of these options, and start having some fun with your nutrition!