The Silly Nutrition Undergrad

Posts Tagged ‘diet

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The internet is a dazzling arena with a lot of information bouncing around, waiting for people to read and absorb. But there is one major flaw with having so much advice flying around: information overload. How do you know what to believe and what not to believe?


People are free to speak their own minds online. And when it comes to health and nutrition, everyone seems to have their own stance. Hence, in search of accurate health and nutrition advice, it is critical to read online information with the discriminating eye of a food critic, picking up hints to decide for yourself whether or not the information is credible or if the writing is merely nonsense.


To supercharge you to become a master food critic, here are four questions that can guide you to pinpoint out credible health and nutrition articles:

1. Which website did you find the article on?

The website that hosts the article you’re interested in is a telltale sign of how valid the information is. When the article is hosted on websites of credible health organizations, such as the Canadian Diabetes Association or Health Canada, you can be assured that the information presented will be accurate and valid. On the other hand, if you come across a health article written by some unknown individual, hosted on a personal website or blog, then you need to be more critical of what you see and read, and apply the next guideline to help you determine if you should continue reading the health article.

2. Who is the author of the article?

Considering that everyone can say whatever they want on the Internet, it is essential to pick out authors who write responsibly. It is hard to hold anyone accountable online for what they say, so it is best to learn a little bit about the author’s background and that will help you determine how credible that person is. One easy way to find out a person’s background is to look for any titles he / she may hold; look for abbreviations that identify them as health professionals, e.g. MD and RD. Having those titles identify them as experts in the health and nutrition field and tells you that they are a credible source for health and nutrition knowledge. Another way to learn more about the author is to read the “About” section (this is especially important when you read blogs!). Written by the author him/herself, the About page offers a quick glimpse of the author’s personal background and that will help you to better understand the motives and interests of the author. Based on that plus the feeling you get from the author’s writing style and tone, you will be able to get a pretty good sense of whether the author is sincere, or whether the author is just goofing around. Based on my own encounters, I find that authors who write in a sincere manner (doesn’t necessary mean formal though) genuinely cares about sharing their own knowledge and experience with the rest of the world and the information they present are often quite valuable in one way or another.

A Quick Note on Registered Dietitians (RD): Registered dietitians are health professionals that have received extensive education on food and nutrition. Dietitians know how food works in the body. They know how to enjoy food in ways that will maintain and promote health. They are also trained to provide nutrition support to enhance the recovery for those people who are ill. Ultimately, dietitians are truly the health experts who have a strong expertise in using food as their tools to promote optimal health. When it comes to food and nutrition, dietitians are really THE number one expert!

3. Does the article offer any evidence?

When reading the article, it is important to distinguish whether the author is merely expressing his/her own thoughts or is he/she is offering  solid advice supported by scientific research findings. Health articles that provide references to relevant scientific papers or include links to other credible sources will be a lot more trustworthy than an article that makes a lot of assumptions without citing any sources what so ever. Watch out for articles that has a heavy use of the word “I”, that often indicate that the author is inputting a lot of his/her personal comments.

4. When was it published?

The first three steps will help you pick out credible information sources. But even after you have narrowed down the reading list, there is still a ton of information that tries to address whatever concern you have, so it is important to prioritize your readings so you can get the most timely and most relevant information available. Always place most value on the most recent articles because they will give you the most updated recommendations based on the most current scientific research findings.


Knowing how to filter information based on credibility is only the first step.  To truly locate information that is helpful and relevant for you, you need to take one extra step. The advice available online does not work for everyone. So it is essential to go through what is available and highlight the suggestions that are most relevant to your situation. First read through the different sources to get different perspectives on the health topics that you care for. This will allow you to gain a thorough insight on the  topic. Then from those sources, pick out the advice that you think may be the best fit for you. Never try to force yourself into following recommendations that does not feel right for you. Keep in mind that you are the person who knows your body the best. Perhaps the single most important tip that I can offer you is simple give your best effort to dig out and highlight the advice that works for you, and not try to force yourself into abiding to anything and everything that are being suggested! Listen to your body, you know yourself best – let thyself be in charge of your body and not let someone else’s advice drive you!

Now that you are armed with great skills to identify and extract valid and insightful health information from online sources, I’ll like to introduce you to a few of my favourite websites that I frequently visit for trustworthy, accurate, and relevant health and nutrition information.

WebMD – This website covers a wide range of health topics. The articles are written by MD and RD and they always support their advice with recent scientific research findings. In addition to health articles, this website offers recipes, handy tools to keep your diet in check (food-o-meter and fiber-o-meter), and videos and slideshows that offer clear and simple health and nutrition tips. I especially love the visual guide to portion size. Overall WebMD is a well-rounded site with many credible and useful knowledge.

Mayo Clinic – They have a comprehensive section on Healthy Lifestyle. In particular, I really appreciate that they offer a selection of articles that gives basic knowledge and another section that provides a more in-depth discussion of the various health topics.

World’s Healthiest Foods – This website has a clear mission to identify the top 129 foods that it considers as the “world’s healthiest foods”. For each food, a detailed nutrient analysis is provided, followed by a list of proposed health benefits (with supporting evidence from different nutrition studies, of course).

NutritionData – This website hosts an extensive nutrient analysis database for almost any food you can imagine. When you search for a particular food, the accurate numerical values for the  nutrients will be listed, and there will also be a short summary of the food’s rating based on different criteria (weight loss, optimum health, weight gain) and a concise description of the pros and cons of the particular food item that you search. The website also provides a powerful search function that allows you to find foods using different filters (high in fiber, low in carbohydrates, best choice for weight loss, etc.). Additional functions are available for registered members (free to register). Members can use the website as an online food diary – record what you ate in a day and it will generate a detailed diet analysis. Members can also can input their own recipes and the website will generate a food label for that recipe. These two additional functions come in really handy when you need extra support and encourage to keep you committed to healthy living!

Everyone need to know how to find valid and accurate health information online because it can make a dramatic difference in your life.  Finding the right information and following the suitable advice will aid you to maintain and even improve your health and help you to avoid falling into the traps of misleading information that will not only not better your health, but more likely ruin your well being in the long run. Being able to distinguish the credible knowledge from silly nonsense can mean such a great deal to your health!

Do you have a favourite site that you always visit when you have a health / nutrition questions?

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To me, brown rice is craveable. I eat it everyday. Whenever I cook a dish that needs to be served over something, brown rice is my number one option. There are a lot of reasons why I enjoy brown rice and here I have boiled them down into 4 main points:

Brown rice is a whole-grain option.

As a population, we overconsume refined grains and gravely underconsume whole grains. Refined grains are highly processed food products and hence, they are stripped of virtually all nutrients (even though food manufactures will enrich their final product, the added nutrients will not completely replace what has been lost). Essentially, refined grains offer nothing but empty calories.

Whole grains, on the other hand, undergo minimal processing. Much of the nutrients are retained and they act in a synergistic manner that offers many health benefits:

Heart Health – Whole grain consumption has been shown to have strong inverse correlation with heart disease risks; the ability for whole grains to help control and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) plays a strong part in contributing to this potential effect. Brown rice is also rich in magnesium; this nutrient is involved with coordinating muscle contractions and considering that our heart is a major muscle group, magnesium will have an important role in keeping the heart going.

Diabetes management – Whole grain foods often have low Glycemic Index (GI) scores because they contain a whole lot of fiber which helps to slow down digestion and prevents rapid fluctuations in blood glucose level.

Weight management – Fiber is the major player here. The indigestible fiber bulks up the whole grain foods and make them less energy-dense. Fiber will also makes you feel fuller and more satisfied; it helps to lowers the tendency for you to nibble and stack on extra calories after your meal.

There is so many good reasons to choose brown rice more often. If you’re interested in finding out the scientific evidence about how brown rice can benefit your health, I strongly encourage you to visit WHFoods: Brown rice and to take a thorough look over at the nutritional analysis of brown rice vs white rice.

Brown rice is not just a whole-grain, it is an intact grain.

Under the new FSA guidelines, “whole grain” is defined in a more elusive manner.

“Cereal grains that consist of the intact, ground, cracked or flaked caryopsis, whose principal anatomical components – the starchy endosperm, germ and bran – are present in the same relative proportions as they exist in the intact caryopsis – should be considered a whole grain food.”

To consumers, what this really means is that now when you see a food product that is labelled “whole grain”, you cannot be absolutely sure that it does contain the goodness of wholesome ingredients because the food processors could have easily broken down the whole grains, processed it in crazy ways and then just added back in components of whole grains to make their products fulfill the criteria to be called whole grain.

In this recent journal article, researchers looks at the impact of the new FSA guideline. They reviewed past studies that involved whole grains and tried to apply the FSA new definition  and see if the health claims of whole grains’ ability to reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases could still hold true. They found that most studies done in the past defined whole grains on broader terms. Based on only a handful of studies that fulfilled the FSA definition, the researchers were unable to find strong evidence to suggest whole grain consumption could reduce cardiovascular risks.

So, it would definitely seem to be wiser to choose whole grains that are wholesome and intact, rather than whole grain products that have been processed and packaged into a box.

The bottom line is choose intact grains, like brown rice, and pass on processed whole grains, like whole-grain pasta.

Brown rice is the ultimate substitute for white rice.

If you are a huge rice lover, brown rice is definitely the choice for you.

Don’t even think about white rice — it’s a refined grain and it is no different from dumping white sugar straight down your throat. Brown rice is a lot more nutritious for you (re-read the long list above!).

It’s really simple to kick the white rice habit. All you got to do is pick up a bag of brown rice from the grocery store today. Then, you just prepare it like you would with white rice (rice-cooker, stove-top or oven-baked, you name it). Just keep in mind that brown rice is chewier and so if you’re looking for a more soft, more mushy mouth-feel, just add more liquid and cook your rice longer.

Brown rice can replace white rice in any recipes. This exchange will not reduce your dining pleasure. In fact, it will most likely enhance your meal, making it taste more full-body, more satisfying and more deliciously healthy!

Brown rice taste good!

Let me repeat myself: it taste good! You have to believe me on this. I come from a Chinese background where I lived and breathed white rice my entire life. Considering that I’ve been fed white rice all my life, and now I say that brown rice is more tasty than white rice, then it definitely is! Period. No doubt about it.

If you say you’ve tried brown rice before and it just didn’t taste good, it’s probably because it wasn’t prepared in a way that brought out the goodness of it. Give it one more chance and bake it – it is the foolproof method for making brown rice sing.

When I first made the switch to brown rice, I prepared it with a rice cooker. It tasted similar to white rice, nothing extraordinary. Then, I tried the stove-top method using chicken stock instead of water; that method made brown rice more aromatic and gave it more flavour, but it also made it slightly too salty for me. Then, I tried the oven-baked method by Alton Brown. The method was easy; it required only water and salt and 1 hour unstirred and covered cooking time in the oven. And the result? Unnnnbelievably flavourful brown rice that was not too chewy nor too mushy, just right. This method is truly a 5-star method. Try it and you’ll love it.

Brown rice is seriously better tasting than white rice. If rice is a blank canvas that allows a dish’s flavour to shine, then brown rice is the top quality canvas that has the magical power to turn a ordinary dish into a good dish and turn a good dish into a remarkable dish. Trust me on this one! And if you are still not convinced, read what Siri has to say about brown rice!

Conclusion: Buy brown rice now and start cooking!

If the idea of eating more healthily has crossed your mind lately, then you should making brown rice the first thing on your to-do list for tomorrow! Adding brown rice to your diet or substituting it for white rice is only a small change in your diet, but it can really make a huge difference in your health!

As a bonus, here are two recipes that pair perfectly with brown rice: Ginger, Jalapeno & Coconut Cauliflower and Creamy Coconut Tofu Rice. YUM!

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A while ago, Craig from Gettin-Ripped asked me for my thoughts on protein and here’s my response.

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What is the first word that appears in your mind when I say “protein“? Did the word “meat” pop up in your mind instantly?

Indeed, meat is a key protein source for many people, but there are actually many other great protein options out there that have long been overlooked (or forgotten). In this post, I’ll like to introduce you to my top 5 protein food choices:

Tofu

150g tofu is roughly a serving of meat alternative under Canada’s Food Guide for Healthy Eating. Tofu is not only rich in protein, it can also a good source of iron and calcium. A serving of firm tofu contains about 11g protein, 30% of the daily value for calcium and 15% of the daily value for iron. Plus, tofu is plant-based, so you don’t have to worry about consuming too much saturated fats or cholesterol when you golf down that block of tofu (you won’t have to picture your arteries getting plugged up by blobs of floating fat in your blood vessels! Yay!) To find out more about the awesome health powers of tofu, visit WHFoods: Tofu. Miso-marinated tofu (same method as mis0-marinated eggplant) makes a delicious main dish for a simple weekday dinner, and make sure you grill extra so you have some tofu left for next day’s lunch (great on a bed of brown rice or a special spinach salad topping).

Beans and legumes

Beans and legumes is another great protein-rich meat alternative. A 3/4 cup portion size counts as one serving, which contains about 8g – 14g protein, nearly 30% of the daily value for iron, and a whole lot of fiber! A serving will give you about10 – 13g of fiber — that’s a huge boost in helping you to get the recommended daily fiber dose of 25g). Fiber has multiple health benefits. The obvious benefit of keeping you regular and helping your body to maintain good digestive health. Fiber can also help to slow down digestion and hence plays a role in regulating blood sugar level. It will keep you full for longer, help to diminish the craving for nibbling and avoid the evil sugar spike that makes you tired and sleepy. Among all beans and legumes, my favourite choice is edamame. Shelled edamame comes in convenient frozen packages. So whenever you need a protein quick-fix, you  simply take it out from the freezer and throw it into whatever you’re cooking without needing to thaw or do any preparation beforehand. How convenient! Try adding edamame to tofu oatmeal for an additional protein punch to jumpstart your morning.

Eggs

Eggs are the ultimate fuss-free, healthy and protein-rich on-the-go snack. They can be prepared within minutes and it can be incorporated into different dishes. The simplest way to enjoy eggs is to cook up a big batch of hard-boiled eggs and keep them in the fridge (they keep well for about a week). Then, when you’re hungry after a hard workout, you can easily open the fridge and get a quick protein boost by peeling some eggs. Reaching for eggs instead of going for a protein bar will satisfied your protein needs (each egg contains about 5.5g protein) and provide additional good-for-you nutrients. In particular, eggs is an excellent source of lutein, which is an important nutrient that helps to maintain eye health and  skin health. Although lutein can be found in other sources, the lutein found in eggs is much more bioavailable (a.k.a. the body can readily access the lutein in eggs, absorb it and use it). For more information on eggs, visit WHFoods: Eggs.

Yogurt

An 8oz container will give you about 10 – 14 grams of protein, and it will also count as a dairy serving, fulfilling your calcium needs for strong bones and teeth. I prefer yogurt over other dairy foods because it is a fermented dairy product that has added bacterial culture. These bacteria helps to improve the overall health of the digestive system by altering the environment of the small intestine so that it favours the growth of the “good” bacteria and makes it less desirable for the “harmful” bacteria to cultivate. To get optimal health benefits from yogurt, make sure to choose yogurt with probiotics and consume it on a regular basis to keep the digestive system healthy! To get an extra protein boost, try topping low-fat, plain probiotic yogurt with granola or nuts. To learn more about the goodness of yogurt, visit WHFoods: Yogurt.

Nuts / nut butter

I’ve written an extensive article on the goodness of nuts before — nuts are seriously that good for you that they deserve a separate post dedicated to praising them! I really enjoy tossing in a quarter cup of nuts into my salad or my morning cereal because they give an extra crunch plus an additional flavour. Nuts are also easy to carry around – I like to pack a small handful of nuts with me when I’m on the road so when I get hungry, I can munch on nuts instead of blindly rushing into a fast food store around the corner. Adding in a quarter cup of nuts or two tablespoons of nut butter is an easy way to add 4g – 5g protein to your diet. Honestly go nuts with nuts! 🙂

There you go! My top five protein choices.

At this point you may think I dislike meat? No, no, no! I enjoy meat, but I just tend to choose these foods more often because they offer a lot more than just protein.


I find that these foods will not only satisfy my protein needs, but also give a dramatic nutritional boost, making it a lot more easier for me to adopt a healthier lifestyle.Next time you dive into your huge steak thinking it’s the only way to get enough protein, look around and think again! Have a yogurt with nuts, or serve beans as a side dish — try to get protein from different sources.

Expand your diet, get healthier!

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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Grilled cheese sandwiches is the ultimate comfort food.

Yet, it isn’t the best option for an everyday lunch because a typical grilled cheese sandwich (2 slices of white bread + 3oz Cheddar Cheese + butter) will contain 27 grams of fat (18g saturated) and nearly 550 calories (enough to fuel a 60kg person to jog for 60 min).

To enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich in a healthier way, try these 3 simple modifications:

Choose cheese with lower fat content, or stronger flavour.
Choose cheese that are naturally lower in fat (ex. Mozzarella or American). You can also substitute reduced-fat cheese for regular-fat cheese. By doing so, you instantly reduce the fat content of the sandwich, and thereby cut out a big chunk of the calories. Another option is to use sharp cheeses; you will need less amount since they have a strong flavour.

Choose whole-grain bread.
Whole grains are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as potassium, selenium and magnesium. The chewy texture of whole-grains will also encourage you to eat slower, allowing you to savour every bite. Whole grain breads have a lower Glycemic Index (GI) value, which makes it better option for preventing blood sugar spikes and crushes. The higher fiber content will help you stay full longer. For more nutrition information on whole grains, check out Mayo Clinic’s post on Whole Grains vs Refined Grains.

Use cooking oil spray.
Instead of generously buttering your toast before putting it on the grill, try spraying it with cooking oil and then grilling it on a dry skillet. You will still get a nicely brown, crispy toast with gooey, melted cheese centre.

These tips are just a few easy ways to lighten up your grilled cheese sandwich. To take it one step further, try making Sweet-and-Spicy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches — by adding caramelized onions and beefsteak tomatoes, Ellie cooks up a delicious, sweet and spicy variation of the traditional grilled cheese sandwich — a 5-star recipe!

Love grilled cheese but doesn’t have the equipment or the time to make it? Try making grilled cheese sandwich this way — Grilled Cheese! With an Iron!

Do you have a favourite grilled cheese sandwich recipe? Share it here!

Pizza

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A slice of deep-pan pizza loaded with cheese and topped with your favourite toppings is heavenly! Yet, knowing that a single slice from a large 14″ pizza will contain about 300 calories or more, and is high in fat and sodium, we tend to tell ourselves that it is forbidden food and so we can only enjoy a tiny slice with guilt. But, as long as we take action to make the rest of the meal more healthy, we can indulge in pizza and get the full pleasure minus the guilt.

Here are simple steps that I do to lighten up pizza dinners:

Choose thin crust.

A deep-pan slice can have up to 3x as much calories as a thin crust equivalent. So, If you choose to have a slice from  a thin-crust pizza, you’ll be saving yourself some calories (and stomach space) to enjoy other foods on the dinner table (and perhaps, dessert too if it’s a special day).

Less cheese! (or choose reduced-fat cheese)

Cheese is an absolute essential part of a pizza! Thus, to truly enjoy and savour a slice of pizza, you have to have cheese on it. However, to lighten up the caloric intake, you can choose to have less cheese or use reduced-fat cheese to cut calories. If you’re ordering pizza, ask them to go light on cheese or ask if they offer reduced-fat cheese. If you make your own pizza at home, try substituting reduced-fat cheese – it melts well and it still has lots of flavour (warning: never use fat-free cheese…it honestly taste like rubber!)

Load up on Veggies.

When you chose to indulge in a high-calorie and high-fat food like pizza, you know you’ve got to give up something else. So let’s cut out the high-calorie mashed potatoes and swap in some nutrient-dense and low-calorie vegetables to help you make the meal slightly more healthy.

Good options include roasted peppers, steamed broccoli or mashed cauliflower (you can disguise it as mashed potatoes – here’s a simple recipe ).

Hold the dip!

Before you dip your pizza crust into the creamy dip, ask yourself do you really want dip the high-fat, high-calorie pizza crust into another high-fat, high-calorie creamy sauce— If eating the crust is your favourite part of the meal, then allow yourself to indulge in a few bites to satisfy your craving, but don’t let yourself pig out! Or, how about try switching your creamy dip for a lighter version one to save some extra calories.

Downsize.

Do you always order a large because it seems like a better deal— Think again. Ordering a large pizza will often tempt you into eating more than you want since you see a lot of food in front of you which naturally provokes you to eat more, and so you end up overeating beyond satisfaction. Ordering more than enough will also mean that you get leftover pizza for the next day which may hinder your ability to choose healthy foods for the next few meals because you keep thinking you have to finish pizza and you keep seeing it every time you open your fridge!

Personally, when I know I’m going to have pizza for dinner, I often eat light and healthy on the other 2 meals because I want to balance it out — 2 healthier meals for one not-so-healthy dinner.

Seriously calorie-conscious and yet, craving pizza? Here’s a lighter, healthier pizza from Ellie Krieger on Food Network. Making your own pizza gives you total control of what to put on it and how much to put on it. You can tweak it to your likings! Plus, it will be super fresh and you will get to enjoy it directly hot from oven (no need to wait for delivery or drive out to pick it up!).

What strategies do you use to prevent caloric overload at pizza dinners?

milk

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Recent study shows that most Canadians are not meeting the serving recommendations set by Canada’s Food Guide, especially in the dairy and fruits and vegetables section.

Most people have no problem adding in fruits into their diets, but if you find it challenging to have more veggies, read about my suggestions on how to increase your vegetable intake.

Many people tend to think the dairy food group does not provide much health benefits and hence, I is easily neglected in our diet. However, consuming dairy products not only helps us to meet our calcium needs, it also plays a supportive role in reducing the risks of chronic illnesses, including osteoporosis, and certain types of cancers. Thus, getting enough milk products is not just about keeping our bones strong, it is also about keeping optimal health!

In tackling the problem of not eating any dairy, the possible list of solutions shrinks. The problem is slightly more complex than adding in more vegetables since lactose intolerance seems to bother most adults these days and for others, they just don’t really have new ways to enjoy dairy products (I’m one of them!). Thus, instead of offering solid ways to significantly boost your dairy intake, here I can only offer you a few methods that I’m trying out to boost my dairy intake.

Substitute milk for water in cooking.

Instead of cooking 1 cup oatmeal with 2 cups of water, I try to substitute half in 1 cup low-fat milk. The result yields a slightly sweet flavour (due to the presence of natural sugar in milk, lactose) and the colour of the oatmeal becomes more creamy and it actually tastes more creamy too! If you prepare a big batch of oatmeal and reheats it the next day, you can add in a bit more milk to thin it out.

Add cheese to your meals or snacks.

Try added some grated low-fat cheese to your main dish or side dishes – not only will it enhance the flavour, but it will be a quick calcium boost too. Or how about adding a 1/2 cup of cottage cheese to your fruit salad snack. The protein in the cheese will slow down digestion and prevent sugar spikes from the sweet fruits.

Instead of drinking juice, try a yogurt drink.

At many occasions, we tend to choose fruit juice over other beverages thinking that it will add to our fruits and vegetables intake (which it does, but provides minimal benefits in comparison to consuming whole fruits). In many cases, the health benefits that fruit juice offer is very minimal compare to the negative health impact that it can have. Very often, commercially prepared fruit juice are loaded with sugars and hence, we’re basically tricking ourselves to think that consuming sugar-coated fruits and vegetables are good for us! Thus, it may actually be smarter to substitute dairy beverages. This is especially suitable for those who have lactose intolerant (the fermentation process in yogurt consumes most lactose in the milk, with only trace amounts remaining).

In attempt to boost my own dairy consumption, these are the three easiest ways for me to include more dairy products in my life. How do you boost your dairy intake?

To find out more about dairy consumption and calcium intake, here are a few helpful resources:

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Why are vegetables important? They contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals. They are also a good source of fiber which keeps the digestive system healthy. They also deliver phytochemicals and  antioxidants which are essential for preventing cell damage and removing toxins from our body.

Canada’s Food Guide suggests that the average adult should eat about 7 – 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. For some people, meeting this guideline can be a huge challenge (especially those of us who aren’t big salad eaters)! However, by planning ahead, you can easily incorporate more vegetables into your meals and add on a few more servings of vegetables to your diet.

Here are three simple tips to sneak in more vegetables into your meals:

Make your own tomato sauce. Tomato Sauce

Instead of using store-bought, chemical-laden tomato sauce which are often high in sodium, try making a homemade version (here’s a simple recipe to try — Five Minute Tomato Sauce). Making your own sauce gives you the freedom to add in more vegetables, such as onions, bell peppers, carrots and celery. By adding in extra veggies, you enhance the sauce’s flavour and give it an instant nutrition boost! Experiment with different herbs and spices and use it as pasta sauce, pizza sauce or meatball sauce…the list is endless.

Curry by [cipher]

Puree vegetables into curry sauce.

Caramelized onions is the ultimate best option because it adds a lot of sweetness to the sauce. Other good options include carrots, bell peppers and corn kernels. Pureed vegetables will give a creamy texture to the sauce and the additional sweetness will definitely help to offset the spiciness of the curry flavour. By pureeing vegetables, you will be able enjoy the benefits of consuming more vegetables without risking to ruin the texture and flavour of the food.

Try mashed sweet potatoes or add in mashed cauliflower.Mashed Sweet Potatoes by Foodista

Most people can’t resist rich and creamy mashed potatoes. Although it is a vegetable option, the healthiness of it decreases as you stir in the butter and milk. However, by adding in some mashed cauliflower, you can add back in some healthiness. Another option to mashed potato would be mashed sweet potatoes. The flavour and texture will be similar, with an added hint of sweetness and a great boost in fiber and beta-carotene (essential nutrient for keeping your eyes, skin and immune system healthy!).

If these options still cannot encourage you to eat more vegetables, perhaps it’s time to try through cookbooks that offer fail-proof recipes for more ideas on sneaking in healthy fruits and vegetables. Here’s two websites to get you started: The Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious.

What are some tricks you use to incorporate more vegetables into your meals?