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10 Ways To Sneak More Nutrition Into Meals


By Bridget Kelly


Thursday, March 5, 2009.


Are you worried that you or your family aren’t getting enough of the nutrients your body needs? Do your kids just refuse to eat anything green? Or do veggies on the side or fresh fruit snacks just not appeal? A healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables has been shown to lower our risk of a range of diseases but if a plate of steamed veg is more of a torture than a treat, there are plenty of ways to reap the benefits and still enjoy your favourite meals.


Try these stealth strategies for sneaking more nutrition into every bite!


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1. Pack in powerful greens. One of the most commonly used veggies is lettuce but, unfortunately, this doesn’t provide many of the nutrients we need from a healthy meal. Replace these less efficient leaves with salad that really packs a punch - raw baby spinach or watercress will provide valuable vitamin A and folate, the heart-healthy B vitamin.


2. Pull a pasta swap. Wholegrain pasta has more fibre than the more refined version, and is therefore better for the heart and the hips . Top with a low fat tomato sauce and roast vegetables, and it’s possible the family won’t even notice the substitution. But if you find the wholegrain version too chewy, compromise with a brand made from half wholegrain flour, half white flour. This should be available in health food stores.


3. Boost the benefits of bread. Swap your regular white sliced pan for a wholegrain variety, or even go for a fortified variety – you’ll increase your family’s supply of calcium and vitamins.


4. Substitute soy. Use soy milk occasionally to replace regular milk and get more antioxidants in each sip.


5. Hide veggies in meat. Bulk up low fat turkey or lean mince burgers with grated carrots, chopped mushrooms or mango chutney. Your meals will more provide fibre, vitamins and minerals – with fewer calories.


6. Smooth your way to 5-a-day. Blend up a banana, another fruit portion such as a handful of strawberries or a nectarine, a pot of yoghurt and a dash of milk for a breakfast that’s packed with fruit and calcium!


7. Go for an oil change. When baking, reduce the amount of sugar in recipes by one-third, then replace half the fat with half that amount of pureed figs, mashed banana or grated apple. Not only will your recipes be lighter in calories and fat, they’ll also provide more fibre, potassium and vitamins.


8. Put power into flour. Replace half the flour in your low fat recipes with wholegrain flour to add some fibre and B vitamins.


9. Supplement soups and sauces. Want to bulk up veggie soups? Add kidney beans or chickpeas to make soups more filling and protein-rich. Toss in broccoli florets or cut green beans to boost the health benefits. Toss finely chopped mushrooms and chopped peppers into tomato sauce. The sauce will mask the taste, but you’ll still get valuable vitamins and antioxidants.


10. Camouflage the veggies. Mash other root vegetables like turnip or celeriac into mashed potatoes, roast strips of sweet potato or parsnip to replace chips or shape veggies like nuggets to make them more attractive to kids!


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