by Alejandra "Alex" Ruani — Get free science updates here.
I’d like to introduce you to one of our amazing graduates, Susan Hart, from Nottingham, UK.
Susan, a former NHS manager-turned health coach and chef, is changing her clients’ lives through her successful coaching practice – AND also indulging people’s palates with delicious healthy menus that she develops for restaurants in her area.
We couldn’t be more proud of Susan’s work, and I hope that her story inspires you to push the envelope, do MORE of what you love doing, and help others lead happier, healthier lives!
Next, I’ll pass the torch onto Susan, who is going to share with you some useful ‘tricks’ to get more veggies into your diet (and WHY you should in the first place).
Enter Susan Hart:
Go Mad For Veggies: How To Get More Veg Into Your Diet
Hi, this is Susan!
We have probably all heard about the ‘5-a-day’ message, even though in the UK only 30% of adults are currently managing to consume that amount!
Even more worrying, according to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, is that only 9% of over 11 year olds are managing to eat their 5-a-day.
The health benefits of eating your greens (and other coloured veggies!) are widely known, but here are a few just in case you missed them:
• They can help reduce the risk of strokes, heart disease and some cancers
• They can lower your chance of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes.
• They are low in fat and high in fibre, so they will keep hunger at bay.
• The fibre helps keep your digestive system on the right track.
• All of these benefits mean that ultimately you may live a longer and healthier life.
Want to hear some curious veggie facts? Here’s a few:
- Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C – an antioxidant that helps fight against harmful free radicals, boosts immunity and prevents infections and possible cancers.
- Cucumbers can help reduce constipation, due to its high water and fibre content and its diuretic effect.
- Lettuce can help increase bone mass because of its high level of vitamin K. This useful vitamin can not only increase bone mineral density in osteoporotic people but also actually reduce fracture rates.
- Beetroots can help reduce high blood pressure, due to the nitrates they contain.
- After eating a delicious avocado don’t throw away the skin; rub the inside on your face and leave for 5 minutes. You will look like Shrek but after you have rinsed it off with warm water your skin will feel soft and plump. And its all due to the Vitamin E in the avocado, which is at its most concentrated just under the skin.
What is a serving?
There is a lot of confusion about what a portion or serving size is. Put simply, one adult portion of vegetables is 80 grams. But who has the time, or inclination, to weigh all of their food – especially if you are eating out? This quick guide may help you:
One portion equals…
• Two broccoli spears
• Four heaped tablespoons of cooked kale, spinach, spring greens or green beans
• Three heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables, such as carrots, peas or sweetcorn, or eight cauliflower florets
• Three sticks of celery
• A 5 cm piece of cucumber
• One medium tomato or seven cherry tomatoes
• Three heaped tablespoons of beans i.e. baked beans, haricot beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, butter beans or chickpeas.
Also consider this:
Vegetables contained in shop-bought ready-made foods can also count towards your 5-a-day. Read the label for the amount per serving. And potatoes don’t really count towards your 5-a-day. They are classified nutritionally as a ‘starchy food’ and when eaten as part of a meal they are usually used in place of other sources of starch, such as bread, rice or pasta.
Here’s seven simple ways to eat more veggies:
TIP 1. Enjoy some beans on wholemeal toast. Add ½ a teaspoon of curry powder for a spicy kick!
TIP 2. Take your left over pasta to work and have it for lunch with lots of salad. The following dish works great served hot for your supper and any leftovers will make a great worktime lunch; cook 150g of wholemeal pasta in boiling water for 8-10 minutes. In the meantime fry a chopped onion and sliced red pepper in a pan until soft add some garlic, a large pinch of dried chilli, a tin of chopped tomatoes and a handful of chopped parsley. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Season with salt and pepper. Break up a cooked salmon fillet and add to the hot sauce. Drain the pasta and mix in to the salmon and sauce. Serve ½ in a large bowl, the other half leave to cool and seal in a container in the fridge ready for the following day.
TIP 3. Instead of opening a packet of Tortilla chips to have with your healthy hummus chop carrots, cucumber, peppers and radishes into sticks and get stuck in!
TIP 4. Or try a simple but filling 1 egg frittata; a great breakfast for one – mix one egg in a bowl and season with black pepper, add a splash of milk. In a very small pan heat a small amount of oil and gently fry ½ a small chopped courgette and 1 chopped spring onion. When soft add the egg mixture and using a spatula move the egg mixture until it sets. Tip on to a plate and enjoy! Or double up the mixture and take half to work for lunch.
TIP 5. Add leftover cooked veg or tinned butter beans to a tin of soup and warm through in a pan. They will not only bulk out the meal but the fibre and protein will keep you fuller for longer.
TIP 6. Add lots of veg like tinned tomatoes, courgettes, peppers, mushrooms, leeks to pasta dishes. You could always use a hand blender to make a smooth sauce. This idea works well for the following recipe :- 150g each of leeks and courgette, 1 Red pepper, ½ – 1 red chilli, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tsp olive oil, ½ can drained and rinsed chickpeas, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes and ½ a tin of water, 1 packet of Light choices Halloumi, 280g cooked wholemeal pasta shapes (85g uncooked), large pinch of black pepper, small handful of chopped parsley. Pre heat the oven gas 4, 150oC. Warm the oil in a frying pan and add the chopped leeks and courgettes. Cook for a few minutes add the red pepper, chilli and garlic. Cook for another 2 minutes. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, water and drained chickpeas. Turn up for the heat to thicken the sauce. After 5 minutes, if you like a smooth sauce use the blender. Or simply add the cooked pasta, ground black pepper and chopped parsley. Mix thoroughly and tip in to an oven proof dish. Add the sliced halloumi and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese is slightly browned.
TIP 7. Eggs are a great low fat protein, that will fill you up; to make them even more nutritious add some grilled tomatoes to your scrambled eggs. All that lycopene in tomatoes is great for prostate health.
Thanks for sharing, Susan!
If you’d like to learn more about Susan and get a few delicious recipe ideas and healthy eating tips, visit: https://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/blog/
As always, we’d love to hear from YOU: Do you also have some tips you’d like to share? What’s your favourite tip from Susan’s list? Are you trying to help your loved ones or your clients to eat their 5-a-day?
Let us know in the comments below, a space to connect, share your experience, and inspire others too!