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July 19, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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How to eat 5+ a day

Fruit and veges are cheap and really good for you, but even perfect moi had problems squeezing my two fruit and three veg into my day—until I had to eat baby food three times a day so the little angel Persephone would believe me that it was good!

It was so important to make sure I had 5+—especially while preganant—and the same with the flatties (because they’re always at risk of eating a meat-only diet), so I developed these ‘ere ideas to squeeze them into everything…

• Use fruit creatively while baking. Muffins are a good way to start, but there are cake recipes calling for beetroot, instead of eggs and milk; how about mashed banana instead of eggs?
• Grate carrot into EVERYTHING. Mince, soup, casserole, stir fry, EVERYTHING.
• Base your pasta sauces with canned tomato.
• Keep mushrooms on hand. Yes, they can get expensive, but cooking mushrooms just feels so easy (and tasty), so you’re more likely to have ‘em for breakfast or dinner, instead of a bag of chips.
• Buy apples/pears. If you don’t eat them during the week, at the end of the week chop them up and put them into a casserole dish with a bit of water and sugar. Top with mixed butter, oats, flour and sugar, and bake to have nummy crumble. This way you never waste.
• If you’re a fan of dried fruit, put some in a jar in your bag, so when you’re famished you have something to nosh on.
• Every time you eat eggs, cook up spinach or mushrooms with them.
• Develop a foolproof potato recipe. No one turns down wedges. And wedges are good for you! Potatoes are tops. Baked potato is easy and yum, for example.
• When cooking with meat or tofu, only choose recipes which require at least two veges to be cooked with them. It’s easier when everything is all cooked together.
• It’s easy to steam broccoli or cauli above your boiling rice/potato/pasta. Breadcrumbs + garlic + butter tossed with cooked broccoli is amazing.
• Be comfortable to admit that you just don’t like some veggies. Don’t buy what you won’t eat, and don’t feel bad for it. Having a good buzz about healthy food is half the battle.
• Explore curry—it’s not that hard to cook and you can easily smuggle capsicum, potato, tomato, mushroom, and carrot in there.
• Replace rice or pasta with mashed potato. Mash some cauliflower, carrot, kumara or pumpkin into it—explore what tastes good. Kumara and feta mash is a solid favourite in café culture, usually with salmon or eggs.
• Aim to have three meat-free dinners, and one egg and dairy free day a week. This will force you to explore your options, and keep your bills down.

Good luck! Let me know how y’all get on, this is a hard one for many, but so worthwhile. Your body will love you.

Beetroot chocolate cake

1 large beetroot
Unsweetened apple sauce, or cooked blended apple
1 tsp. vanilla essence
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar (or normal vinegar)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch/corn powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Chocolate chunks or frozen berries (optional)

Peel and dice beetroot. Place the pieces in a saucepan with water to cover. Boil until soft, then drain and cool (or use 1 tin drained beetroot).

Put the drained beets into the food processor with 1/4 cup (clear) water, and process until pureed.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Oil or spray your cooking pan(s).

Put the pureed beets into a 2-cup measure. Add enough apple sauce to reach the 2-cup line—if you have 2 cups of beetroot then you don’t need the apple. Add 2 tablespoons water, vanilla extract and apple cider to the beets and mix well.

Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the beet mixture and stir until well-mixed. Stir in berries and/or chocolate if you like.

Bake for 35 minutes in two shallow pans, and you’re looking at a 30min cooking time. Test by inserting a toothpick into the center; it’s done when the toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving. Ice with chocolate icing and stack it so it’s double layered.

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