The Fitness Zone
There are so many benefits to a diet that is rich in vegetables. It doesn’t matter if you are vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, paleo, or a person who eats anything and everything; it is important for good health, to eat a wide variety of vegetables each and every day.
If fat loss is your goal, bulking up your meals with low calorie, high volume veggies is a great way to stay fuller for longer whilst in a calorie deficit.
If hiding veggies in your kid’s food who simply refuses to eat them is your goal, you have come to the right place too.
Regardless of your current health and fitness goals or situation, learning more ways to incorporate different vegetables is beneficial for all.
How to sneak veggies into your meals (and still have them taste good)
1. Add them to your oats
Adding either grated carrot or zucchini to your oats is a little known hack that will bulk up your meal, sneak some extra veg into your morning and leave you feeling fuller for longer without sacrificing the taste.
Before the thought of veggies in your oats encourages you to promptly exit this article, just think about the concept of your morning oats tasting just like carrot cake… what’s not to love about that? Add grated carrot, some cinnamon and nutmeg and voila! If this has you drooling already, try this carrot cake overnight oats recipe that we adore.
If carrot cake is not your vibe, try adding grated zucchini and a chocolate flavoured protein powder. The chocolate masks the (very minimal) taste of zucchini and you won’t even know it’s there - we promise.
Tip: add the grated zucchini in before cooking the oats - you want the zucchini to cook and soften.
2. Add them to your smoothies
Most smoothie recipes contain frozen banana to get that thick, creamy consistency. There are a lot of health enthusiasts out there, however, that are intolerant to banana or just have an unexplainable distaste for the fruit. So, want to know the perfect alternative to adding banana, whilst still getting a creamy smoothie consistency? FROZEN. CAULIFLOWER. We didn’t believe this when he heard it either.
Frozen cauliflower or even frozen zucchini will thicken up any smoothie without giving it a weird savoury taste that you might expect. If you are using protein powder, cacao powder, raspberries or peanut butter, this will entirely mask any slight veggie taste and again, you’d never be able to tell.
If you’re not opposed to banana, this cauliflower smoothie recipe with peanut butter, banana and dates might be right up your alley.
3. Make them into ‘pasta’
By now, you’ve likely heard of the phenomenon known as ‘zoodles’. Zoodles are spiralised zucchini, which you stir into your sauce and meat (or meat substitute) as a low-calorie alternative to pasta. If you don’t have a spiraliser, you can even purchase these from Coles or Woolworths already spiralised and ready to go!
Another way to turn your veggies into pasta is by using spaghetti squash. If you roast spaghetti squash in the oven, then use a fork to scrape the inside out, it will come out in long noodle-like strands, which work perfectly for a spag bowl.
Tip: When roasting your squash in the oven, cut in half, then cook the halves cut-side-down on the baking sheet. This allows the squash to steam itself and cook faster, whilst avoiding over-cooking the squash noodles.
4. Mix them in with your pasta meat/sauce
If the suggestion of swapping out the love of your life (pasta) for zucchini or squash is laughable to you, then we have the perfect alternative, allowing you to get the best of both worlds.
There is something so delicious about a spaghetti bolognese sauce that is loaded up with grated zucchini, grated carrot, mushrooms or even broccoli! It adds so much flavour, volume and textures that make a regular spag bowl seem yawn-worthy.
We also need to give a special shoutout to cauliflower yet again because blending roasted cauliflower into your carbonara sauce is a MUST.
5. Make them into brownies
Black beans, sweet potato, beetroot and zucchini all make for incredible brownie bases… crazy right? Using pureed vegetables can allow you to achieve that delicious and moist brownie, with that slight crispy top that we all love.
Brownies are also an awesome opportunity to add some extra protein like eggs or protein powder too, so you are killing two birds with one delicious stone.
We hope this blog has given you some great ideas and inspiration to veg-it-up in the kitchen. If it did - be sure to tag us in your veggie-stuffed creations on Instagram! (@ausinstfitness)
And if nutrition is a passion of yours, why not become a Nutrition Coach?