30 Different vegetables each week!
How many different types of vegetables do you eat each week?
What if I told you that 30 different types of vegetables each week is a good goal? I know that sounds like a lot – especially if you come from the potatoes, peas and carrots school of vegetables, but don’t just take my word for it. That number comes directly from Dr Sarah Ballantyne’s recommendation in her recent The Gut Health Guidebook.
I’ve written before about the importance of eating at least 8 serves of vegetables every day. And, if you are achieving that – fan-bloody-tastic. You are doing yourself some serious good.
But, in addition to this goal, I have an even more ambitious one to propose: Aim to eat at least 30 different types of vegetables every week.
But what does this mean?
It means if you are eating the same sweet potato, broccoli and carrots (<– the AIP version of potatoes, peas and carrots!) every week, you aren’t maximising the number of nutrients you could (even, should!) be eating for your health.
What say you’re convinced? You’ve set a goal of at least 30 different types of vegetables every week.
How the heck do you even do that?
So, just like your grandmother did, you have your protein and 3 vegetables at the ready? What can you add by way of vegetables?
Asking myself this question was the genesis of my ‘Add a vegetable’ series. It’s still in its very early stages but already I’m adding:
Count the ways
A side of cooked vegetables.
A side of raw
What about fermented?
If you’re serious about maximising your veggie count for the sake of your health, it makes good sense to get in the habit of eating fermented vegetables. Me, I like to add some sort of kraut to every savoury meal.
For the low down on all things fermentation (including how SUPER easy and fun it is to ferment your own veggies at home), check out my Fermentation Round-Up. Recipes included!
Join me in becoming A Queen of the Green Sauce
I have a nifty leafy greens kitchen hack that has served me well when it comes to ensuring I eat more kale and chard and sorrel and spinach and all the green things.
But, because I know how eating a variety of leafy greens REALLY boosts my health, my best tip is to create a weekly Lucky Dip Green Sauce ritual.
I tend to mix it up when it comes to my green sauce – often it’s a combo of what’s in season and what’s in my fridge. But, you could create a signature green sauce, if that’s more your thing.
And the best bit? I reckon you could realistically squeeze between 5 and 10 different types of leafy greens and herbs into this baby BEFORE you factor in the garlic… Bonus!
Soup it up
Of course, you can make a meal of soup (and I often do), but how about a little ‘amuse bouche’ of pureed vegetable soup in an espresso cup? An amuse-bouche is a fancy-schmancy Frenchy-chic term for a small savoury item of food served as an appetizer before a meal. It also happens to be a fan-bloody-tastic way to get more veggies into your day.
The trick is to have a stash of pureed vegetable soup at the ready. My favourites are:
And while we’re on the topic of herbs – they count towards your 30 types of vegetable matter. Herbs are a great way to add more nutrient density, boost the flavour profile of your meal AND they elevate the visual appeal of your plate – making it look more fancy-schmancy.
I’ve recently invested in a wee micro-greens contraption from Micropod which is making me ridiculously happy as I grow little bursts of microgreens to sprinkle over my meals. Last week was mizuna and kale. This week I’m trying rocket (arugula).
Make seaweed salt
Arguably the easiest way to get more sea vegetables into your diet (and yes, they count in your 30 vegetables!) is to make seaweed salt. It’s ridiculously easy to whip up and when you exchange your regular table salt for this baby, you are adding all sorts of good trace minerals to your diet, too.
To make your salt, all you need is some good sea salt and some dried sea vegetables – like dulse, nori, wakame or kombu. For every 1/4 cup of salt, you’ll need at least 2 teaspoons of your seaweed-of-choice. Throw your two ingredients into your mortar and pestle and give it a good mixing before storing in an airtight container.
Use as you would ordinary salt.
Make it a habit to add more vegetables to braises and stews and slow-cooks
I am a fan of cook once to eat twice (or even thrice) cooking. I’m also a fan of one-pot numbers. That is – throwing as much nutrient density into one pot as I can so I don’t have to pfaff around with unnecessary time in the kitchen. For me, that means adding vegetables to my slow-braised numbers.
Some of our favourites are:
One of my favourite tricks is to stir some leafy greens through the braise just as it is coming out of the oven. It just takes a few minutes for them to wilt – and there’s an extra serve of vegetables with no effort at all.
Set a goal (or create a game) of making it to 30 Types of Vegetables each week
A great way to get closer to this is to seek out vegetables you’ve never tried before. Until I kicked off my AIP caper, things like Jerusalem artichokes, kohlrabi, plantains and daikon were new to me. Now I love them.
Set yourself a task of ferreting out new vegetables. You never know – you may find a new favourite!